Frankfort, Ky. – Kentucky auto manufactures produced over 1.3 million passenger vehicles in 2015, a 2.4 percent increase over 2014, according to new data from the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association.
The numbers maintain Kentucky’s status as the third-largest producer of cars and light trucks in the country.
Along with increased production in 2015, the Kentucky auto industry achieved other economic accomplishments, such as:
- Employing nearly 90,000 people statewide – up from 85,552 in 2014;
- Increasing the number of auto-related manufacturing facilities to more than 480; and
- Announcing 79 new projects totaling $2.8 billion in investments.
In 2015, Toyota debuted its Kentucky-made Lexus ES 350 in October, which was expected to add about 750 jobs in Georgetown. In December, Ford announced that it would invest $1.3 billion to build 2017 F-Series Super Duty trucks at its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, which is expected to create 2,000 jobs. General Motors announced a total of $483 million in facility upgrades at its Corvette plant in Bowling Green during 2015. A $439 million investment announced in May will bring a new 450,000 square-foot paint shop, among other changes, and a separate $44 million, 36-job investment announced in December will increase production capacity for the Corvette Z06 high-performance model.
Suppliers of automotive parts, services and technologies also announced 75 investments in new or expanding locations, which are projected to create 2,593 jobs, including:
- a $13.4 million, 145-job project by Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems in Russell Springs
- a $261 million, 450-job expansion by Bowling Green Metalforming in Warren County
- an $84.5 million expansion by Robert Bosch Automotive Steering Systems in Florence, expected to add 212 jobs.
“The automotive industry is vital to the state, both economically and culturally,” said KAIA executive director Dave Tatman. “These are products that are made here and shipped all over the world, showcasing Kentucky workmanship to a global audience.”
Tatman noted that an economic impact study completed last year by the University of Louisville Urban Studies Institute showed that the Kentucky auto industry:
- Contributes more than $14 billion to the state’s gross state product
- Supports Kentucky families with an average wage that tops $58,000 a year
- Directly or indirectly supports 1 out of every 18 jobs in the state
- Ranks first in the nation in per-capita vehicle production