BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (June 2, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined leaders from Fruehauf North America for the grand opening of the company’s new $15 million, 290-job operation in Bowling Green, signifying the semi-trailer manufacturer’s return to production in the United States.
“I always love to see a new company locate in the commonwealth, but it speaks to our many advantages when a company decides to locate its first U.S. operation in 25 years in the commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “Fruehauf is a welcome addition to Kentucky and the Bowling Green area, and this is the start of what I know will be an excellent partnership for years to come.”
The new facility, announced in June 2021 and opened earlier this year, includes assembly of dry van trailers in Bowling Green’s Kentucky Transpark. Fruehauf closed its previous U.S. operations in 1997, exclusively manufacturing Fruehauf trailers in Mexico in the years since. So far, the company has filled 75 positions, with plans to add an additional 215 employees by the end of 2022.
“On target with our short-term goal to become a top-5 player in the region, this facility adds 5,000 units of capacity for a total of 13,000 units for Fruehauf North America,” said Eugenio Clariond, chairman of Fruehauf North America. “We will continue investing and developing our brand in the region and are delighted to have partnered with the Bowling Green community for this endeavor.”
Fruehauf has manufactured transportation products since it was established in Detroit, Michigan, in 1890. The company’s founder, August Fruehauf, was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2017 as the inventor of the semi-trailer. In addition to semi-trailers, the company produces dollies, platforms, container chassis, tanks and hoppers.
Currently, more than 525 automotive-related facilities operate in Kentucky, including four original equipment manufacturers. The sector employs 100,000 people statewide. Since the start of the Beshear administration, the industry has contributed to more than 90 announcements totaling $9.2 billion in new investments and over 11,000 full-time jobs.
Warren County Judge/Executive Mike Buchanon welcomed the company to Bowling Green.
“Fruehauf literally invented the semi-trailer, and the company is known the world over for their longstanding contribution to the transportation industry,” Judge Buchanon said. “We are delighted to be celebrating this new facility, which is Fruehauf’s first manufacturing plant in the United States in 25 years. Today’s celebration is a testament to our community being an ideal location to locate and grow a company.”
Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott noted the far-reaching impact of the project.
“By investing in Bowling Green, Fruehauf has created additional opportunities for all the businesses in our community,” Mayor Alcott said. “The impact of their investment will be felt by local retailers, restaurants, banks, service providers and more.”
Ron Bunch, president and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, said this is the beginning of a successful partnership.
“The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce worked with Fruehauf to ensure that everything they needed to grow could be found in Bowling Green, and those promises have rung true,” Bunch said. “The Chamber is honored to provide the support Fruehauf needs as they operate in our community and continue to prosper in the future.”
Fruehauf’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year.
In recent months, the Beshear administration announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
The economic momentum has carried strongly into 2022, with both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings upgrading Kentucky’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
For April 2022, the state budget director reported the highest-ever monthly General Fund receipts of $1.84 billion. That is up 34.9% over last April’s collections, bringing Kentucky’s year-to-date growth rate to 16.4%.
And Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in May 2021 preliminarily approved an incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide tax incentives based on the company’s investment and annual job-creation and wage targets.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, Fruehauf can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
For more information on Fruehauf, visit FruehaufInc.com.
A detailed community profile for Warren County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.