At the center of what is known as the US "Auto Alley" Kentucky's location facilitates the distribution of goods and materials to a massive industrial and consumer market. Therefore Kentucky is home to more than 460 automotive-related facilities, including four major assembly plants run by Ford, Toyota and GM. Within 500 miles of Kentucky you will also find plants of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and VW, as well as the majority of all other car manufacturers.
Ford's two assembly plants near Louisville have produced some of the world's most popular vehicles. The Louisville Assembly Plant is Ford's largest North American plant in terms of number of employees. It is Ford's most flexible, high-volume plant in the world, producing the Escape and the Lincoln MKC. The second plant, Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant, is also expanding its capacity to meet the surging demand for F-Series Super Duty trucks, as well as the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.
Toyota's largest production plant outside of Japan is located in Central Kentucky. The plant, which represents an over $6 billion investment in Kentucky, manufactures the Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Venza, as well as 4-cylinder and V6 engines and power parts. Moreover, Toyota's Georgetown plant will be the first-ever U.S. production site for the Lexus ES 350 model, the top-selling Lexus sedan in the world.
Bowling Green has been the exclusive home of GM's iconic Corvette since June 1981 and the Chevy Stingray Corvette, made in Kentucky, was named the 2014 North American Car of the Year. In 2015, GM announced to invest $439 million for facility upgrades, including a new paint shop equipped with new tooling, robots and state-of-the-art environmental and efficiency enhancements. The new 450,000-square-foot facility will be almost half the size of the company's entire operation in Warren County, Kentucky. Gov. Steve Beshear states "For more than three decades, Kentucky and GM have shared a deep connection. This expansion only makes the relationship stronger and will create a foundation for future growth."
Because of the above plants and nearly 1.3 million vehicles produced in 2014, Kentucky ranked 3rd in light vehicle production in 2014 and even first in light vehicle production on a per capita basis. Besides, Kentucky has the nation's 3rd highest level of auto industry related employment as a percent of total state employment in the United States. Kentucky's strength in the automotive industry can be attributed to many factors, including a productive workforce, central location, low cost of business, excellent workforce training programs and a pro-business government. In addition, the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association (KAIA) brings together auto manufacturers, suppliers and supporting entities. Its goal is to support the industry sector in in the process of coping with challenges, finding solutions and taking opportunities. This association is thus another key for the success of the automotive industry in Kentucky.