A recently formed subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd. has announced it will operate an electric vehicle motor manufacturing plant in Berea, KY, with plans to employ 200 people by 2023, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced.
Hitachi Automotive Electric Motor Systems America Inc. is currently renovating part of a plant where another Hitachi company operates. According to a Beshear press release, the company has about 20 people presently working there, with plans to grow 10-fold within two years.
Beshear said the announcement adds “true momentum” to the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
“From an automotive workforce and industry perspective, it’s also crucial that Kentucky continues to attract these kinds of forward-looking projects. The auto industry is in a years-long tectonic shift to electric vehicles. Throughout this, we must advance the commonwealth’s role and reputation as a major player in this hugely important economic sector.”
The Hitachi company will develop motors for Honda at the plant about 40 miles south of Lexington. According to state records, the company plans to invest nearly $95 million in the project, with $80 million in equipment costs and $6.8 million in building improvements.
Kentucky is in the region called “Automotive Alley,” roughly defined as the area around and between Interstates 65 and 75 as they run between the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
As a result, the automotive manufacturing industry is a major employer in the state. More than 520 auto-related businesses employed more than 100,000 people in Kentucky, and the state’s auto-related exports totaled $4.8 billion in 2019.
And Hitachi is already a part of that. Its Hitachi Automotive Systems America division operates four facilities in Kentucky, including two in Berea. It makes brake and suspension parts as well as electronic control systems, actuators and parts for fuel systems.
“We are pleased to establish this new business in Berea, where Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas has forged a robust, ongoing relationship with the local community and state officials over the years,” said Shingo Nakamura, president of Hitachi Automotive Electric Motor Systems America. “The new venture is...