Japan-owned Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC will invest $11 million to expand its Bowling Green, Kentucky, production center.
As part of its investment, the company plans to construct a new 39,000-square-foot building and purchase new equipment. There are 11 Kobe Steel subsidiaries in the United States, but the Bowling Green location is the only U.S. facility to forge aluminum suspension products for the automotive industry. The expansion project will manufacture the cast aluminum bars for compressors for air conditioning on vehicles.
“We are excited to announce our expansion in south central Kentucky,” said Kobe representatives. “This region has been a great supporter of our company, and we’re committed to continuing to employ south central Kentucky residents and to investing in the region. We’re grateful for the assistance that our local, regional and state leaders have provided to us.”
“Kobe Aluminum is a shining example of Kentucky’s thriving automotive industry,” said Gov. Steve Beshear.
Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC, a joint venture of Kobe Steel Ltd., Mitsui & Co Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, has been a resident of south central Kentucky since 2005. The plant currently has more than 200 full-time employees and has invested nearly $100 million in its Bowling Green facility since opening its doors. Kobe has added more than 50 employees to its payroll since 2011.
As an incentive to encourage the investment and job growth in Bowling Green, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $325,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
“Kobe has been a great corporate citizen for the past seven years, and we look forward to continuing this relationship long into the future,” said Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson.