Trailer manufacturer Fruehauf North America has opened a $15 million, 290-job operation in Bowling Green, Kentucky, signifying the company’s return to production in the United States.
The new facility, announced in June 2021 and opened earlier this year, includes assembly of dry van trailers in 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, in a press release. “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.”
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in May 2021 preliminarily approved an incentive agreement with Fruehauf 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.
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.
More than 525 automotive-related facilities operate in Kentucky, including four original equipment manufacturers.
In September, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a $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. The governor says these announcements “solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.”