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Thursday, September 19, 2013
Obama to visit Kansas City Ford plant Friday
(From Gov. Jay Nixon)
Missouri's resurgent automotive industry will receive national attention whenPresident Obama travels to Ford Motor Company's new Kansas City Stamping Plant on Friday. Gov. Jay Nixon said the President's visit highlights Missouri's position as a leader in the rebirth of the American auto industry, with an historic $1.1 billion investment by Ford in Kansas City as well as expansions by General Motors and auto suppliers across the state.
"By visiting Ford's brand new stamping plant in Kansas City, the President will see for himself that Missouri continues to lead the rebirth of American automotive manufacturing," Gov. Nixon said. "From creating an Automotive Jobs Task Force on my first full day in office to calling the legislature into a special session to pass the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, my administration has made revitalizing Missouri's auto industry a top priority.
"Today, with significant investments by Ford, General Motors and auto suppliers across the state, these efforts are paying real dividends for Missouri workers and communities," the Governor said. "I am committed to building on that ongoing success through balanced budgets, holding the line on taxes, and investing in our skilled workforce."
Since taking office, Gov. Nixon has made it a top priority of his administration to reenergize the Missouri automotive industry, which had experienced years of steady decline. From 2004 to 2009, automotive industry employment declined by 35 percent.
That is why on his first full day as Governor, Gov. Nixon established the Missouri Automotive Jobs Task Force to make recommendations on strategies to attract automotive investment in Missouri. The Governor and his economic development team also traveled to Detroit to meet with automotive industry leaders, including leadership at Ford and General Motors. In the summer of 2010, the Governor called a special session of the General Assembly to pass the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, a package of strategic incentives to attract next-generation automotive manufacturing to the state.
As a result of these efforts, Missouri's automotive manufacturing industry has rebounded. In January 2011, Ford Motor Company committed to retaining the nearly 4,000 jobs at its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo. In October of that year, Ford confirmed plans to invest $1.1 billion and create 1,600 new jobs at the facility as part of a historic expansion that includes construction of a new stamping plant and production of the Ford Transit Van, previously built only overseas. This past May, Ford announced that it would hire an additional 900 workers in Claycomo for a third shift of F-150 production.
In November 2011, General Motors announced plans to create more than 1,600 jobs and invest $380 million to bring production of the newly-redesigned Colorado pickup to Wentzville and support demand for its existing vehicles. In June of this year, GM announced an additional $133 million investment at the facility to add a third stamping press.
Missouri's growing automotive industry has helped spark a parallel resurgence by automotive suppliers across the state. In August, Toyota Bodine announced an expansion of its manufacturing plant in Troy. In May, Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems, an industry leader in interior component supplies, announced plans for a $45 million facility that will create 263 new jobs in Riverside. In June, one of the world's largest manufacturers of chrome-plated plastic auto parts, SRG Global, announced a $4.2 million capital investment in its plant in Portageville. In addition, Adrian Steel is constructing a new manufacturing plant in Kansas City to support Ford's Claycomo Plant. These announcements followed expansions last year by suppliers around the state, including LMV Automotive, TG Missouri, Henniges Automotive and Spartan Light Metal Products.
To continue this progress, the Governor has continued to cut red tape while strengthening Missouri's workforce. In 2013, he signed legislation implementing Missouri Works, which will consolidate Missouri's four existing business development incentives into a single, business-friendly program with a uniform set of definitions and a streamlined application process.