Cabinet for Economic Development
Governor Beshear Announces Expansion of Akebono Corporation Headquarters in Elizabethtown

Press Release Date:  Monday, January 11, 2010  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502) 564-7670  

Governor’s economic development trip to Japan, new incentive programs lead to 70 new, professional jobs


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 11, 2010) – Gov. Steve Beshear today announced new, professional jobs are coming to Elizabethtown with the expansion of Akebono Brake Corporation’s headquarters.  Joined by Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes, community leaders and company officials, Akebono Corporation said it would add 70 new jobs to its administrative offices as a result of discussions between Gov. Beshear and Akebono Corporation officials in Japan during the governor’s October 2009 economic development trip.   

The world’s leading manufacturer of automotive brakes and brake components, Akebono recently acquired Robert Bosch LLC’s North American Foundation Brake Division. As a result, Akebono will invest $800,000 in its Elizabethtown headquarters operation to accommodate its growth.  An additional 12,276 square feet of office space will be completed at its facility, located on Ring Road, to house the new staff necessary due to doubling the size of the company. 

Kentucky is proud to have an outstanding, world-class company like Akebono Corporation call Kentucky home for so many years,” said Gov. Beshear. “I was very encouraged by discussions with company officials in Japan last year about future growth opportunities at the Elizabethtown headquarters.  Armed with a new economic incentive toolbox, we were able to secure this expansion for Kentucky, bringing new jobs to Kentucky families.” 

Gov. Beshear and Secretary Hayes met with Akebono officials in Japan last fall to discuss its Kentucky presence, specifically future opportunities for its Elizabethtown headquarters.  Kentucky’s new economic development incentive programs, passed during the 2009 special legislative session, were instrumental in securing Akebono’s expansion in the Commonwealth. 

“Akebono has long had a presence in Kentucky and appreciates the advantages that Kentucky offers,” said Carl Lay, vice president of administration for North American operations.  “This historic moment in our history more than doubles the size of Akebono, bringing more business, more jobs, and more opportunities to the Commonwealth and to the great workforce we have here at Akebono Brake.” 

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved Akebono Corporation for tax benefits up to $800,000 under Kentucky’s new incentive program, the Kentucky Business Investment Program.  The incentive can be earned over a 10-year period through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments.  The maximum annual approved amount to be earned by Akebono is $80,000. 

Akebono Corporation has historically operated all of its North American manufacturing facilities in Kentucky.  Opening its first Kentucky facility in Elizabethtown in 1987, the company has since grown to become one of the largest manufacturing operations in Hardin County, employing 1,500 people in the area.  The company relocated its North American headquarters to the Commonwealth in 2006. 

“Since coming to Kentucky in 1987, Akebono has been a cornerstone of the Elizabethtown business community,” said R. Gregory Jenkins, chairman of the Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation. “They have achieved outstanding growth over the intervening 23 years, and with the Bosch acquisition, we welcome the expansion of the North American headquarters operation. Today, we take another step in fulfilling our mission to make Elizabethtown not just a great place to manufacture product but to manage operations with a nationwide scope.” 

“Akebono has grown to become the leader of the automotive brake industry in the U.S. since locating to Elizabethtown in 1987,” said Elizabethtown Mayor Dave Willmoth. “We welcome the addition of new employees to the North American headquarters.” 

A community profile for Elizabethtown can be viewed at More information about Kentucky’s economic development efforts is available at