Aug 30, 2011 3:35 PM
Governor Steve Beshear on Tuesday joined community leaders and officials from Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc. to announce the company has selected the community for its third Kentucky manufacturing facility.
The new plant, which will produce electric drive motors for hybrid and electric vehicles, will create 130 new jobs and a more than $74.5 million investment in the Commonwealth.
"Hitachi is a shining star in Kentucky's automotive industry," Beshear said. "Not only will this latest expansion bring Hitachi's Berea workforce to more than 1,070, it also enhances Kentucky's profile in the advanced hybrid automotive industry. We're positioning Kentucky to become the epicenter of the advanced automotive manufacturing industry, and strong relationships with companies like Hitachi are a cornerstone of our success."
Hitachi, which has existing locations in Harrodsburg and Berea, has purchased a 151,000 square-foot facility on 65 acres in Berea for its latest project. The plant, which used to produce electrical products, will be totally retooled and will now manufacture motors that will power advanced hybrid electric powered automobiles, including the Chevy Volt. Additionally, Hitachi's future plans include the production of other hybrid vehicle products like lithium-ion batteries and electric inverters to be manufactured in its Kentucky plants.
Hitachi also announced an expansion of its Harrodsburg plant in the fall of 2009, following the Governor's economic development trip to Japan. During the trip, Gov. Beshear met with Hitachi officials to discuss numerous possibilities for the company's growth in the Commonwealth. The project, which later grew significantly in scope, represents a $68 million investment and 145 new jobs in Harrodsburg.
Operations at the new plant in Berea are expected to begin in late 2011, with plans to ship the first electric motors from its Madison County factory 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 that will provide increased employment opportunities for the state coupled with spearheading Hitachi's manufacturing of hybrid electric vehicle motors for U.S. customers."
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Hitachi for tax incentives up to $4 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows the 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.
KEDFA also approved Hitachi for tax benefits up to $100,680 through the Kentucky Enterprise Investment Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment. An Economic Development Bond grant in the amount of $500,000 was also approved for the city of Berea for the benefit of the Hitachi project.
"I am proud to be part of the community that is home to a wonderful workforce that provides companies the people they need," said Sen. Jared Carpenter, of Berea. "We are excited to see Hitachi make this huge investment in Berea and Madison County."
"This investment is the type of economic boost our Commonwealth needs by providing jobs and opportunity to the workforce in Madison and surrounding counties," said Rep. Lonnie Napier, of Lancaster. "Today's announcement speaks volumes about the quality of workers and the favorable economic climate we have in Kentucky."
"Hitachi is a company that builds success on traditional values and innovation," said Berea Mayor Steven Connelly. "When we learned that it would expand its automotive operation in Berea, our citizens and elected officials were deeply honored and very excited about the future. We are confident that the partnership between Berea and Hitachi will continue to grow and prosper into the 21st Century under Hitachi's inspired leadership. "
"This is such a wonderful announcement, especially at the present time, in the present economy," said Madison County Judge-Executive Kent Clark. "As always, much of the credit should go to Hitachi executives, Tom McCay and his staff and also to the quality of life that is unique to Madison County, Kentucky."