Japan’s Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC (KAAP) announced the commencement of a US$51.3 million expansion of its operations in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The move is the first of several phases of a project that is expected to enhance the local economy by US$280 million over the next decade.
The project involves the addition of two new forging presses, a heat-treatment line, an etch and penetrant line, a melting furnace, a casting line, and twin machining lines. KAAP anticipates construction to commence this month. They indicate that the additional equipment will ultimately lead to the creation of up to 129 new jobs at the facility.
“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 KAAP’s president and CEO Toshihiro Katsura. “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,” said Kentucky governor Matt Bevin (R). “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.”
KAAP is a subsidiary of Kobe Steel Group, also known as Kobelco, which was founded in 1905 and is a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFJ) keiretsu. The firm has been producing aluminium for automotive and aircraft applications for eighty years, and has been operating in the Bowling Green area for a dozen years. Its parent company is a constituent of the Nikkei 225 stock index.