Semi-trailer and equipment manufacturer Fruehauf Inc. plans to locate its first U.S. facility in nearly 25 years at Kentucky Transpark in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The $12 million investment is expected to create 288 full-time jobs in the years ahead.
The new dry van trailer manufacturing operation will locate in an unfinished spec building in Bowling Green’s Kentucky Transpark. The new location will allow the company to better serve its customers in the U.S. and Canada with components primarily manufactured offsite and assembled in Bowling Green. Fruehauf’s production operations are currently located exclusively in Mexico, having closed its U.S. facilities in 1997.
“We are excited to have our U.S. plant investment here in Bowling Green. We have chosen a community with a strong automotive heritage, something we believe our founder, August Fruehauf, would appreciate given the central role he played in the development of the automotive industry and his later induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame,” said Tom Wiseman, president of Fruehauf USA and Canada.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in May preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $4 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $12 million and annual targets of creation and maintenance of 288 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years and paying an average hourly wage of $21 including benefits across those jobs.
“The nearly 300 jobs to be created through this project will greatly benefit families in South Central Kentucky as we continue to attract quality opportunities for our people across the state as we sprint out of this pandemic,” Governor Andy Beshear said. “I am proud to welcome Fruehauf to the commonwealth as we build on our already diverse base of automotive-related companies in Kentucky.”
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments. In addition, Fruehauf can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network.
“The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce worked with Fruehauf to ensure that everything they needed in a site could be found in Bowling Green. Our recent infrastructure investments, central U.S. location and workforce played a key role in their decision to locate in the Transpark,” said Ron Bunch, president and CEO of Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber is on hand to continue providing the support Fruehauf will need as they begin operating in our community.”
Fruehauf has a history of manufacturing transportation products dating back to the company’s founding in Detroit, Michigan, in 1890. Its founder, Fruehauf, was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2017 as the inventor of the semi-trailer. In addition to semi-trailers, the company’s related products include dollies, platforms, container chassis, tanks, hoppers and turns. Fruehauf is a subsidiary of the Fultra Group, a diversified manufacturing company based in Mexico.