FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 1, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman congratulated Central Motor Wheel of America (CMWA) on the grand opening of its new PROACE plant Friday, an expansion of the company’s existing operations in Bourbon County, bringing 145 new jobs.
“Congratulations to the leadership of Central Motor Wheel of America on this momentous occasion and thank you for your demonstration of confidence in the future of our commonwealth with this exciting expansion of your operations in Central Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “Kentucky’s economy is on fire, fueled largely by our growing partnerships with the automotive industry, and CMWA is an important partner in our success today and in the future.”
Lt. Gov. Coleman, who attended Friday’s ribbon-cutting, thanked company leaders for deepening their commitment to the state and Central Kentucky workforce.
“What an exciting time it is to be a member of Team Kentucky, as we continue to witness historic economic growth across the commonwealth,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “While CMWA’s new PROACE plant will create new jobs and opportunities in Bourbon County, this expansion will have a positive ripple effect on its neighboring counties, as well. We are grateful to CMWA for its ongoing commitment to Kentucky and our dedicated workforce.”
The new 275,000-square-foot PROACE plant began production this month and will produce 17-inch through 22-inch aluminum wheels for passenger cars and light trucks. The new plant represents a 40-acre expansion of CMWA’s existing campus in Paris, increasing aluminum-wheel production capacity by 50%. The new jobs will bring CMWA’s Kentucky workforce to more than 700.
“Our newly expanded aluminum wheel production facility will allow CMWA to further provide our customers with high quality and competitive products utilizing cutting-edge technology to correspond with our diversifying customer needs,” said CMWA Executive Vice President Jeff Birdsong.
Founded as Central Manufacturing Co. in 1986, CMWA is a joint venture between Central Wheel Co. Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corp. The company began producing steel wheels in 1988 and manufactured its first aluminum wheels in 1990. Adopting its current name in 2007, the company produces aluminum wheels for Toyota and steel wheels for Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Subaru. Prior to this expansion, the Paris plant can produce up to 2 million aluminum wheels annually and 6 million steel wheels.
In addition to its Kentucky operations, Central Motor and Wheel Co. Ltd. operates 10 facilities in Japan, Mexico, China, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia.
Kentucky’s automotive industry includes more than 550 facilities employing over 103,000 state residents full-time. Those facilities include the world’s largest Toyota assembly plant, the world’s only Corvette manufacturing facility and two Ford Motor Co. assembly plants.
Bourbon County Judge/Executive Mike Williams noted the important role the company plays in the community.
“Bourbon County is very excited for CMWA and our community to reach this critical milestone in CMWA’s expansion project,” Judge/Executive Williams said. “The added jobs further solidifies their position as our largest employer and their impact to our economy is unequaled. CMWA’s position as a world leader in wheel production supporting the auto industry and their incredible support of our neighbors in Scott County at the Toyota plant is a source of pride and immeasurable gratitude of all Bourbon Countians. Congratulations to Jeff Birdsong and the entire CMWA team for their incredible accomplishment and their exciting future in Bourbon County!”
Paris Mayor John Plummer thanked everyone who had a role in the CMWA expansion project.
“This project is essential for continued growth in our community and will provide jobs for our young people, while also enhancing the quality of life for all our residents,” Mayor Plummer said. “CMWA is a true asset to the City of Paris and Bourbon County. The investment in our community will provide positive rewards for many years to come with quality high-tech, high-paying jobs.”
Gordon Wilson, executive director of the Paris-Bourbon County Economic Development Authority, commended the company for its partnership.
“The Paris-Bourbon County Economic Development Authority (PBCEDA) is thrilled that Central Motor Wheel of America’s expansion of its PROACE facility is completed and the PBCEDA is grateful for the $112 million investment CMWA has made in our community,” Wilson said. “CMWA’s investment will pay dividends to this community and the region for decades to come, which will provide the citizens of this community and region a career with a high-paying wage and an opportunity for professional growth. CMWA has been a wonderful corporate citizen to Paris and Bourbon County and a working partner with the PBCEDA.”
LG&E and KU President John R. Crockett III said the utility provider is proud to support the project.
“We understand the critical role safe, reliable, cost-efficient and sustainable energy plays in enabling companies like CMWA to expand here in Kentucky and in enticing others to consider calling our commonwealth home,” Crockett said. “We’re proud to support this new facility and the economic vitality it will bring.”
CMWA’s investment and job creation increases the commonwealth’s record-setting economic momentum, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
Last week alone, companies announced new-location and expansion projects totaling more than 1,700 full-time jobs announced with $1.26 billion in new investments.
This year, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books for yearly investment totals. Year-to-date, private-sector new-location and expansion announcements include over $10 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 15,000 full-time jobs across the coming years. Through September, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $24.15 before benefits, a 10% increase over the previous year.
In September, Gov. Beshear, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley and Dong-Seob Jee, president of SK Innovation’s battery business, announcedthe single largest economic development project in the history of the commonwealth, celebrating a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs and places Kentucky at the forefront of the automotive industry’s future.
In July, thanks to strong fiscal management by the Beshear administration, the state budget office reported the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.
In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the state and CMWA previously reached performance-based tax incentive agreements based on the company’s investment, job and wage targets.
In addition, CMWA 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 CMWA, visit cmwa.com.
A detailed community profile for Bourbon 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.