By Ken Selvaggi
WAVE 3 Vice President and General Manager
It was just before Derby ten years ago that Hyundai selected Montgomery, Alabama over Louisville for its billion dollar plant that now employs over 3,000 people and is responsible for a third of this country's Sonata and Elantra sales. This week, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama said it plans to add a third shift of production to its Montgomery facility, increasing production capacity by approximately 20,000 units and adding nearly 900 positions.
Louisville rebounded well from missing out on that plant. Nearly 1,800 new workers have joined Ford's Louisville Assembly plant on Fern Valley Road to produce the new Ford Escape this year. Total employment at the plant will near 3,000 by the end of this year – more than double from two years ago.
General Electric Appliances added hundreds of new jobs in Louisville this year for a new refrigeration line and production of a new hybrid water heater. GE plans to create more than 1,000 jobs total in the next few years at Louisville's Appliance Park as part of a billion dollar nationwide investment, 800 million of it here.
Clearly manufacturing is on an upswing in this part of the country. Less than two years ago, after 200 years of steelmaking in Germany, the first ThyssenKrupp steel coil was produced in North America, at a new five billion dollar plant near Mobile, Alabama. It is one of the most technologically advanced carbon steel processing facilities in the world.
A rebounding economy starts with manufacturing things – it was how America began a road to prosperity. It will be how our road to recovery begins.
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