Gov. Beshear promotes Kentucky auto industry at auto show

DETROIT, MI (FOX19) - Gov. Steve Beshear joined company leaders from Kentucky's three automakers, Toyota, Ford and GM, to promote Kentucky's auto industry at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The auto show brings together the industry's top leaders and thinkers from the global automotive community to catch up on the latest news and events.

"We know just how innovative and dynamic Kentucky's auto industry is, and it's important that message gets heard loud and clear by the industry's most influential leaders," Gov. Beshear said. "In collaboration with our long-term partners, Toyota, Ford and GM, I am proud to promote Kentucky as the epicenter of the advanced automotive manufacturing industry."

In 2010, more than 738,771 cars and light trucks were assembled in the state, which ranks fourth among all states in light vehicle production. In fact, almost 10 percent of all cars and trucks produced in the U.S. are made in Kentucky.

Additionally, more than 440 motor vehicle-related manufacturing and supplier facilities employ nearly 67,000 people full-time, including the almost 14,000 full-time employees at the four Kentucky automotive assembly plants.

In 2011, 71 motor vehicle-related companies announced a new location or expansion in Kentucky. Those projects represent more than 5,000 new jobs and nearly $1.1 billion in new investment across the Commonwealth.

Recent high-profile announcements include a $131 million investment by GM at its Bowling Green Corvette plant, as well as Ford's $1.2 billion investment between its two Louisville assembly plants. The Kentucky-Ford project was just named the 2011 Economic Development Deal of the Year by Business Facilities magazine.

Toyota already produces the hybrid Camry at its Georgetown plant, and last year, Hitachi announced major expansions of its Kentucky operations, allowing it to begin producing lithium ion battery packs, motors and other components for use in electric and hybrid automobiles, he said.

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