Firestone breaks ground on project tied to electric vehicles

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WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (AP) — A global auto parts supplier has broken ground on a $51 million project adding 250 jobs at a rural Kentucky plant in an expansion tied to auto industry plans to ramp up electric vehicle production.

Firestone Industrial Products Co. was joined by state and local officials Monday as construction officially began on the expansion in Williamsburg, a statement from Gov. Andy Beshear said. The project is largely geared toward producing air suspension systems for electric vehicles.

Firestone opened its Whitley County operation in 1989. The southeastern Kentucky plant now employs more than 500 workers and produces about 4 million parts annually. The expansion, which will add 68,000 square feet (6,817 square meters) of manufacturing space to accommodate new equipment and boost capacity, is expected to be complete by the end of next year.

"Our company and our Kentucky team have a vital role to play in the transformation of mobility brought forth by advanced electric vehicle systems and by key supporting technologies like our Firestone air springs and air suspensions," Firestone Industrial Products President Emily Poladian said.

The Nashville, Tennessee-based Firestone Industrial Products is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas Inc.

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