Mexico-based automotive frame manufacturer Metalsa Structural Products Inc. announced it will add 113 jobs at its Owensboro, Kentucky facility with a US$ 36.5 million expansion to produce a new line of stamped and welded components.
“With three production facilities in the commonwealth, Metalsa stands as one of our largest automotive employers,” Governor Matt Bevin said in a statement. “We are grateful for this additional expansion and these new jobs. This will strengthen Kentucky’s economy and further propel us toward our goal of being the American center of engineering and manufacturing excellence. We welcome this growth and congratulate both Metalsa and the Owensboro community on their success.”
The US$ 36.5 million will include investment in robotic welding cells, assembly line robots, infrastructure and building expansions to increase the facility’s square footage to accommodate the new production line and additional warehouse space. The expansion began this summer and hiring is for September 2018 through June 2019. Company leaders expect production to begin in March 2019.
The company based in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, currently employs in Kentucky about 2,700 people at three vehicle-frame facilities. It established the Owensboro facility in 1997, opened its Hopkinsville plant in 1989 and its Elizabethtown plant dates to 1994. The Ford F-150's frame is one of several products Metalsa manufactures at its Kentucky facilities.
Established in 1956 as Manufacturas Metálicas Monterrey with a plant in Churubusco, Mexico, the company initially produced structures for the construction industry then began manufacturing automotive parts four years later. The company changed its name to Metalsa in 1980. Current products include frames and fuel tanks for light and commercial vehicles, among other items.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in June preliminarily approved Metalsa for tax incentives up to US$ 3.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
In addition, Metalsa can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal year 2016, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for nearly 95,000 Kentuckians and 5,000 companies from a variety of industry sectors.