Area Development
Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas has announced it has chosen Berea, KY, as the site for its third Kentucky manufacturing facility. The company purchased a 151,000 sq.-ft. facility on 65 acres in Berea for the new plant, which will produce electric drive motors for next-generation hybrid and electric vehicles.

When completed, the $74.5 million project in Madison County will create 130 jobs and increase Hitachi's Berea workforce to over 1,070 workers. (The company has existing locations in Harrodsburg and Berea.) Operations at the Berea facility are expected to commence later this year. Plans call for shipments of its first electric motors to go out in mid-2012.

"Hitachi is one of the few automotive suppliers with the capability to develop and produce our own lithium-ion batteries, electric drive motors and the electronic controls needed to manage hybrid electric vehicles," said Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas President Mark Fujisawa. "We are thrilled to open this new factory.spearheading Hitachi's manufacturing of hybrid electric vehicle motors for U.S. customers."

Governor Steve Beshear said Hitachi's expansion further enhances Kentucky's profile in the advanced hybrid automotive industry, and positions the state to become the "epicenter" of the advanced automotive manufacturing industry.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Hitachi for tax incentives up to $4 million through its Kentucky Business Investment program. The company must meet certain job and investment targets to receive them.

KEDFA also approved Hitachi for tax benefits up to $100,680 through the Kentucky Enterprise Investment Act (legislation which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in R&D, and electronic processing equipment). Additionally, the city of Berea approved a $500,000 Economic Development Bond grant for the project.