Global auto show brings together industry’s most influential leaders
DETROIT, Mich. (Jan. 10, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear today joined company leaders from Kentucky’s three automakers, Toyota, Ford and GM, to promote Kentucky’s booming auto industry at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
The auto show brings together the industry’s top leaders and thinkers from the global automotive community to catch up on the latest news and events. More than 5,000 journalists from 55 countries attended last year, making the event an excellent venue to showcase Kentucky’s successes.
“We know just how innovative and dynamic Kentucky’s auto industry is, and it’s important that message gets heard loud and clear by the industry’s most influential leaders,” Beshear said. “In collaboration with our long-term partners, Toyota, Ford and GM, I am proud to promote Kentucky as the epicenter of the advanced automotive manufacturing industry.”
Kentucky plays a central role in the U.S. automotive industry. In 2010, more than 738,771 cars and light trucks were assembled in the state, which ranks fourth among all states in light vehicle production. In fact, almost 10 percent of all cars and trucks produced in the U.S. are made in Kentucky.
Additionally, more than 440 motor vehicle-related manufacturing and supplier facilities employ nearly 67,000 people full-time, including the almost 14,000 full-time employees at the four Kentucky automotive assembly plants.
“Toyota’s quarter century of success in Kentucky is the result of our 9,000 team members’ dedication to quality and safety, our hundreds of business partners and the local communities where we do business,” said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., based in Erlanger. “With strong support from Governor Beshear and the communities where we do business throughout the Commonwealth, our goal to be among the most admired companies in Kentucky is becoming a reality.”
“Ford applauds Governor Beshear for his leadership to strategically find competitive ways to encourage auto manufacturing investment and job growth in Kentucky,” said Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields. “Thank you for holding firm on your commitments and vision of a skilled, knowledgeable, and competitive manufacturing workforce, and working with us to ensure that Kentucky is a premier location for global automotive investment and creating new jobs.”
“GM appreciates Governor Beshear’s support and recognition that a strong auto manufacturing base drives jobs and a strong economy,” said GM Vice President for Global Public Policy Bob Ferguson. “That is why we are proud to call Kentucky home of the Corvette, America’s greatest sports car.”
In 2011, 71 motor vehicle-related companies announced a new location or expansion in Kentucky. Those projects represent more than 5,000 new jobs and nearly $1.1 billion in new investment across the Commonwealth.
Recent high-profile announcements include a $131 million investment by GM at its Bowling Green Corvette plant, as well as Ford’s $1.2 billion investment between its two Louisville assembly plants. The Kentucky-Ford project was just named the 2011 Economic Development Deal of the Year by Business Facilities magazine.
Kentucky is also a major player in the advanced-battery industry, with construction nearing completion on the new Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research & Development Center in Lexington, Beshear said.
Toyota already produces the hybrid Camry at its Georgetown plant, and last year, Hitachi announced major expansions of its Kentucky operations, allowing it to begin producing lithium ion battery packs, motors and other components for use in electric and hybrid automobiles, he said.
A complete listing of automotive-related industries in Kentucky can be viewed at www.ThinkKentucky.com/kyedc/kpdf/Motor_Vehicle_Related_Facilities.pdf.