October 6th is Manufacturing Day, a celebration of modern manufacturing intended to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.
Kentucky’s manufacturing industry totaled $29.2 billion in exports last year. Nearly 2,500 manufacturing facilities employ over 252,000 Kentuckians full-time. Last year, 222 manufacturers invested over $2.2 billion in locations or expansions, creating an additional 7,535 jobs in Kentucky.
So far this year, Commerce Lexington economic development has helped eight existing manufacturing companies expand, adding 79 new jobs and investing $2.5 million, excluding the recent investments by Toyota of $1.33 billion and $121 million. In Lexington, the 2016 average annual wage for manufacturing employees was $76,509, much higher than the state average of $57,050 and the national average of $64,870, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manufacturing is the largest contributor to Lexington’s GDP, totaling $5 billion in 2015 (the most recent year for which data is available).
Three major manufacturing companies in the Bluegrass Region are Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK), CLARK Material Handling Company, and AVENTICS Corporation.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) in Georgetown is Toyota’s largest manufacturing plant in the world, producing 550,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines annually at its 1,300-acre campus featuring over 8.1 million square feet of work space. TMMK produces four cylinder and V-6 engines, Camry, Avalon, Camry Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid, and the first U.S.-assembled Lexus.
In April 2017, Toyota announced a $1.33 billion investment in its Georgetown operations to improve equipment and add new technology to increase its manufacturing flexibility and decrease model changeover times. This investment will prepare TMMK to be the first vehicle assembly facility in North America to adopt the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), a global vehicle platform for multiple configurations to create a flexible production environment allowing quick response to demand while preserving Toyota’s values of exceptional quality and safety.
Toyota announced an additional $121 million technology investment in September 2017 to expand TMMK’s facility’s 2.5-liter engine production for the growing demand for hybrid cars.
CLARK Material Handling Company is a forklift manufacturer whose global headquarters is located in Lexington with operations worldwide and a global network of 550 dealers worldwide. In 2015, CLARK invested $4.7 million in its Lexington manufacturing facility to reshore production of its ECX (four-wheel electric) and TMK (three-wheel electric) forklift models in Lexington from Mexico. Earlier this year, CLARK celebrated 100 years in Lexington.
AVENTICS is an industrial pneumatic systems manufacturer (i.e., a gas or pressurized air alternative to electric motors, such as in air brakes on vehicles). AVENTICS was originally Bosch’s pneumatics division formerly named Rexroth Pneumatics and is celebrating 53 years in Lexington this October.
TMMK, CLARK Material Handling Company, and AVENTICS represent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Bluegrass Region from Japan, Korea, and Germany. TMMK is owned by Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan, CLARK Material Handling Company was acquired by Young An Hat Company of Korea in 2003, and AVENTICS was recently purchased by the Germany Company Triton Partners. Foreign-owned companies like TMMK, CLARK, and AVENTICS have helped Lexington and the Bluegrass Region earn recognition for exceptional foreign direct investment and manufacturing such as:
- #7 Best City for FDI Strategy, Business Facilities (2017)
- #7 Top Small American City of the Future 2017/2018 for FDI Strategy, fDi Intelligence (2017)
- #4 Top Mid-Sized Metro for Economic Development, Site Selection Magazine (2017)
- #6 Top Manufacturing State, Business Facilities (2017)
- #2 Automotive Manufacturing Strength (Kentucky), Business Facilities (2017)
Click here to read more about manufacturing in the Bluegrass Region.