Cabinet for Economic Development
Gov. Beshear Announces Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas to Establish Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery Production in Harrodsburg

Press Release Date:  Monday, October 17, 2011  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502)564-4886  


Project creates 60 new jobs, entails $12 million investment

 

HARRODSBURG, Ky. (Oct. 17, 2011) – Governor Steve Beshear today joined community leaders and officials from Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc. to announce the company has selected its Mercer County plant as the site of its North American lithium-ion battery packs production. 

 

This is Hitachi’s fourth announcement of new jobs and investment in Kentucky since 2009, when the Governor traveled to Japan to meet with Hitachi officials.  Since that visit, Hitachi has announced a total of 335 new jobs and $154.5 million in investment in its two Kentucky locations.

 

Today’s announcement of the new manufacturing capability will create 60 new jobs and represents an approximate $12 million investment in the Commonwealth.

 

“Hitachi’s continued investment is proof that Kentucky’s personal touch in economic development is paying off big dividends by attracting local, national and international business to our state. I’m proud to add yet another successful chapter in the Kentucky-Hitachi story,” Gov. Beshear said. “Not only will Hitachi’s latest expansion add 60 new employees in Harrodsburg, it also builds upon our efforts to become the epicenter of the advanced automotive manufacturing industry. We appreciate Hitachi’s sustained confidence in the Commonwealth and know that through strategic partnerships such as this we can continue to make great things happen.”

 

Hitachi, which has existing locations in Harrodsburg and Berea, just completed construction of its new 153,000-square-foot factory on its existing 85-acre Harrodsburg site. The expansion project, which was announced in 2010, is creating 145 new jobs in Harrodsburg and entails an investment of $68 million. The plant produces sophisticated automotive electronics. With this latest expansion, the plant will also produce the battery control electronics, which will be installed as part of the battery pack assembly. 

 

“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 electric powered automobiles,” said Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas President Mark Fujisawa. “The North American production of these hybrid electric vehicle batteries complements our North American production of hybrid vehicle motors, which we announced last month. We are excited to further expand our United States production operations with the manufacturing of these batteries produced in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

 

Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. President and CEO Kunihiko Ohnuma said, “We will strengthen the development of technology around the globe for electronic and electric products to meet the needs of electric powered automobiles. The addition of advanced technology battery pack production in Kentucky is part of this strategy and it will help advance our desire to bring our manufacturing closer to where the products are consumed.”

 

With the support of state and local incentives, Hitachi also announced this past August the establishment of its third Kentucky manufacturing facility in Berea, where it will soon start production of motors that will power advanced electric powered automobiles. The Berea plant will create 130 new jobs and result in a $74.5 million investment.

 

“We are charged up that Hitachi has chosen our community to lay down North American roots and we look forward to a long and productive relationship,” said Sen. Jimmy Higdon, of Lebanon.

“Today’s announcement is not only good news for Mercer County and Kentucky but is also a statement on the confidence Hitachi has in the workers at the Harrodsburg plant,” said Rep. Kim King, of Harrodsburg. “These jobs also represent an opportunity for our young people who are seeking high-paying, highly technical jobs that will allow them to stay in their hometowns.”

Lithium-ion battery packs production at the Harrodsburg plant is expected to begin in 2012, with the first product shipment going out in 2013. Hitachi’s future plans also include the production of electric inverters for hybrid electric vehicles, which will be manufactured in its Kentucky plants.

 

“Hitachi is an important part of Mercer County, and we are grateful they continue to invest in our community,” said Mercer County Judge-Executive Milward Dedman.

 

“Any community would be fortunate to have Hitachi as one of their corporate citizens,” said Harrodsburg Mayor Eddie Long.  “We appreciate their faith in Harrodsburg.”

 

For more information on Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, visit www.hitachi-automotive.us.   

 

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ThinkKentucky or follow on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ThinkKentucky.

 

A detailed community profile for Harrodsburg (Mercer County) can be viewed at http://thinkkentucky.com/EDIS/cmnty/index.aspx?cw=068.

 

About Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc.

Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc., headquartered in Harrodsburg, manufactures electronic and mechanical automotive parts selling to most of the world’s major automotive manufacturing companies. Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc. began manufacturing operations in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1986. The company produces automotive electronics in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, automotive suspension, brake products and electric motors in its factories in Berea, employing over 1700 employees in the Commonwealth.

 

About Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd.

Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.  The company is engaged in the development, manufacture, sales and services of automotive components, transportation related components, industrial machines and systems, etc. and offers a wide range of automotive systems including engine management systems, electric power train systems, drive control systems and car information systems.  For more information, please, visit the company’s website at http://www.hitachi=automotive.co.jp/en/.