Today, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC announced phase I of their latest expansion project in the South Central Kentucky Industrial Park in Bowling Green. This project includes the creation of 129 new jobs and $51.3 million in capital investment and will have an economic impact of more than $280 million over the next 10 years in South Central Kentucky.
KAAP is an award winning manufacturer of forged aluminum suspension products and has been instrumental in global aluminum lightweighting efforts. Lightweighting is driven by the need to increase fuel efficiency by reducing the weight of automobiles. Aluminum parts forged by KAAP are light weight, and as they contribute to the overall reduction in weight of the automobile, their products help consumers save through lowered fuel consumption, and ultimately help improve the environment.
"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 and 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."
"This expansion by Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products is a shining example of growth among advanced manufacturers in Kentucky," Gov. 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."
This project will increase production capacity by the addition of two new forging presses, one heat treatment line, one etch and penetrant line, one melting furnace, one casting line and two machining lines. Construction is anticipated to begin next month.
"South Central Kentucky's reputation among metal and automotive parts manufacturing groups continues to advance much in part to the success of companies like KAAP in our region," said Chamber President and CEO Ron Bunch. "The combined economic impact of all of KAAP's projects since locating here in 2005 has exceeded $654 million. Congratulations to KAAP on this project and their success in our community."
Although KAAP is relatively new to the United States, they have been serving the aircraft and automotive industry in Japan since 1937. KAAP joined the Bowling Green community in 2005 and has since been an exemplary member of the region's automotive and aluminum product manufacturing sector. Over the last 12 years, KAAP has invested $287 million in the Bowling Green community and currently employs 501 people, 500 of which are Kentucky residents.
"KAAP continues to have a tremendous impact on the city and our local economy," said Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. "Their growth and success since locating to Bowling Green in 2005 is astonishing and we are grateful for all [KAAP] does for our community."
"We are proud that KAAP continues to call Warren County home," said Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon. "Seven expansions in twelve years is a great testament to their success as a leader in an industry primed for growth. I extend our sincerest gratitude to KAAP for being such an important part of our local economy."
KAAP has been the recipient of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce's John B. Holland Business of the Year award three times since joining the region's business community in 2005. This annual award is given to an existing South Central Kentucky company making the greatest economic impact on the community, investing capital and creating jobs for local residents. KAAP was the John B. Holland Business of the Year in 2008, 2012 and 2013.
This announcement is the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce's third economic development announcement in 2017 for a total of $86.73 million in capital investment and 283 new jobs.
For more information on KAAP or the positions they have available, please visit www.kobeal.com.
About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:
Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,200 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region. Learn more about South Central Kentucky's advantages at www.southcentralky.com.