FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Piston Automotive LLC, a provider of automotive assemblies, including advanced electric and hybrid vehicle battery systems, will increase the scope of a previously announced Jefferson County expansion, which now will create 117 full-time jobs with a $26.3 million-plus investment.
“It is great to see existing businesses grow in the commonwealth, and even better when those expansions exceed initial projections,” Gov. Beshear said. “I’d like to thank Piston Automotive for growing its footprint in Jefferson County as the company increases its support of the automotive market, including electric and hybrid vehicles. We will continue to see this sector grow in the months and years ahead, and I am glad that growth includes Piston Automotive.”
Piston Automotive will lease a facility on Technology Drive in Louisville and install new equipment to accommodate a new production line and increased capabilities to support growing market demand.
In 2019, Piston Automotive announced a $1.5 million expansion of its current Jeffersontown facility with a commitment to create 50 full-time jobs. Company leaders now expect to significantly increase the planned investment and job creation and relocate the operation within Jefferson County. Piston Automotive has operated since 2011 in Louisville, where it currently employs 104 people. The company also maintains a facility in Georgetown, which employs 68.
“We are thrilled to be able to further invest in the Louisville community,” said Bob Holloway, president of Piston Automotive. “The expansion of our facility and our team is an exciting milestone within our organization that will provide a solid foundation to successfully launch newly awarded products and provide additional capacity to support our continued growth at Piston Automotive.”
Piston Automotive is a subsidiary of Piston Group LLC, which is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan. Founded in 1995, the company is led by industry magnate and former NBA champion Vinnie Johnson and is among the largest African-American-owned automotive suppliers in the United States. Over the past 27 years, Piston Automotive has grown from a small-corrugated pallet manufacturer into a major provider of automotive assemblies. Other entities of Piston Group include Irvin Products and Detroit Thermal Systems. Today, Piston Group employs 11,000 people at 23 locations across the U.S.
Piston Automotive is among the approximately 525 motor vehicle-related facilities currently operating in Kentucky, which employ over 100,000 people full time. In 2021, automotive companies announced new-location and expansion projects creating 7,200-plus full-time jobs with nearly $6.7 billion in new investments.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the project reflects the region’s ability to support the growing automotive industry.
“Piston Automotive’s new expansion, less than three years after its initial expansion commitment, demonstrates the strength of Louisville’s advanced automotive manufacturing industry, which helps keep our economy running in high gear,” Mayor Fischer said. “We welcome this continued growth and congratulate the Piston Automotive team on its success.”
Piston Automotive’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor noted that this was among five economic development projects announced Thursday that alone represent $160.9 million in new investments that will create 1,003 new jobs for Kentuckians.
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 September, Gov. Beshear, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley and Dong-Seob Jee, president of SK Innovation’s battery business, announced the 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.
Kentucky also saw an all-time, record-setting budget surplus in fiscal year 2021 and enters 2022 with an estimated $1.9 billion more than budgeted.
In addition, Kentucky recently placed seventh overall in Site Selection magazine’s annual Business Climate Rankings. The commonwealth ranked third nationally in the 2020 projects per capita ranking and fifth in the 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
The Governor’s recent budget proposal calls for $250 million in one-time funds to develop a Site Identification and Development Program that will help the commonwealth continue its economic development momentum by modernizing infrastructure so we’re able to attract the next Ford- or Toyota-size project. The fund will help communities grow small economic development sites into larger sites and help them prepare sites to be not just shovel-ready, but build-ready.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) today gave final approval of a modified 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1.65 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of nearly $26.37 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 117 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $22.06 including benefits across those jobs.
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, Piston Automotive 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 Piston Automotive, visit PistonAutomotive.com.
A detailed community profile for Jefferson 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.