LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 20, 2012) (NYSE:GE) — GE previewed today its new refrigerator product line, the soon-to-be-launched French door bottom freezer refrigerator series, at the grand opening of a new factory at GE’s Appliance Park, the second manufacturing facility to open within six weeks here. The new refrigeration line – which features the most advanced ice and water technology on the market today – will support 600 new local jobs and improve the competitive position of the 130-year-old brand.
GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt will be joined by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and more than 1,000 GE employees to celebrate the facility opening as another milestone in the revitalization of GE’s Appliances business. Efforts to revitalize the business began in 2009 when GE committed to invest a total of $1 billion ($800 million in Louisville) and create more than 1,300 new jobs in the U.S. by 2014. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the February opening of the GeoSpring™ Hybrid Water Heater manufacturing facility, the first new factory to open at Appliance Park since 1957.
“Today’s Appliance Park milestone is proof that when businesses, unions and employees work together, we can deliver innovative solutions to the marketplace and demonstrate that U.S.-based manufacturing can be competitive,” said GE Appliances President and CEO Charles “Chip” Blankenship. “GE Appliances is a shining example of what is working in U.S. manufacturing, and we’re excited about what this new production line means for the future of our business. We know we could not have reached this milestone without our partners, such as the local union, government leaders at all levels and our 4,000 incredibly hard working Louisville employees.”
“GE’s continued investment in the Louisville manufacturing facility will help create jobs and drive economic growth for the surrounding community,” said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. “They have been a great partner in helping to showcase to the rest of the world that Kentucky is a great place to do business.”
The new refrigeration line is one of 11 new products that will be launched by GE Appliances by 2014. The renewal of manufacturing in Louisville is a result of several factors, including the adoption of lean manufacturing techniques and a more competitive wage structure for new employees, all intended to help GE better compete in a global marketplace. The Lean process, which uses a cross-functional team of employees – including hourly manufacturing workers – helps increase the competitiveness of the operation by identifying and removing waste in materials and work effort often found in traditional manufacturing.