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Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products Expands Bowling Green, Kentucky, Plant

Japan-based Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products will expand for a seventh time in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The company will invest more than $51 million and create 129 full-time jobs.

KAAP will add more than 108,000 square feet to accommodate new production lines and equipment, including a melting furnace, forging presses and heat-treatment, casting and machining lines.

The additional capacity will allow the company to meet increased sales goals. Company leaders expect the project to take approximately one year, with the start of production targeted for fall 2018.

“This is our 12th year producing aluminum automobile suspension parts in Kentucky. Two years ago we decided to make our sixth investment, and due to the increasing necessity of lighter vehicles, we have decided to make another investment,” said Toshihiro Katsura, KAAP President & CEO. “This will be our seventh additional investment, and we are truly grateful to the Commonwealth of Kentucky for all of the support and incentives we have received.”

The plant’s previous expansions total $293 million and it currently employs 500 Kentucky residents full-time. KAAP manufactures lightweight aluminum parts, including upper and lower control arms and steering knuckles. Lighter parts help reduce overall vehicle weight, which contributes to greater fuel economy and lower emission levels.

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Additionally, KEDFA approved KAAP for up to $200,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing. In addition, KAAP can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network.

“This expansion by Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products is a shining example of growth among advanced manufacturers in Kentucky,” Governor Matt Bevin said. “Since establishing its Bowling Green plant in 2004, KAAP has proven itself an excellent corporate partner in the Commonwealth’s automotive industry. We are grateful for the company’s dedication to the state and are excited to see this remarkable success continue.”

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