FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – A well-known semi-trailer manufacturer, which ended production in the U.S. almost a quarter of a century ago, is returning with a new facility in Kentucky.
Fruehauf Inc., which makes trailers and other truck equipment, plans to locate its first U.S. facility in nearly 25 years in Bowling Green, with a $12 million investment expected to create 288 full-time jobs in the years ahead.
“The nearly 300 jobs to be created through this project will greatly benefit families in South Central Kentucky as we continue to attract quality opportunities for our people across the state as we sprint out of this pandemic,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “I am proud to welcome Fruehauf to the commonwealth as we build on our already diverse base of automotive-related companies in Kentucky.”
The new dry van trailer manufacturing operation will locate in an unfinished spec building in Bowling Green’s Kentucky Transpark. The new location will allow the company to better serve its customers in the U.S. and Canada with components primarily manufactured offsite and assembled at the new location. Fruehauf’s production operations are currently located exclusively in Mexico, having closed its U.S. facilities in 1997.
“We are excited to have our U.S. plant investment here in Bowling Green. We have chosen a community with a strong automotive heritage, something we believe our founder, August Fruehauf, would appreciate given the central role he played in the development of the automotive industry and his later induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame,” said Tom Wiseman, president of Fruehauf USA and Canada.
Fruehauf has a history of manufacturing transportation products dating back to the company’s founding in Detroit, Michigan, in 1890. Its 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’s related products include dollies, platforms, container chassis, tanks, hoppers and turns. Fruehauf is now a subsidiary of the Fultra Group, a diversified manufacturing company based in Mexico.
Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott said the company’s new location will have a positive impact throughout the community.
“By investing in Bowling Green, Fruehauf is creating additional opportunities for all of the businesses in our community,” Mayor Alcott said. “The impact of their investment will be felt by local retailers, restaurants, banks, service providers and more. Within our community, we understand that we all rise together, and this inspires our pro-growth mindset.”
Fruehauf adds to Kentucky’s existing presence of Mexican-owned operations, which includes nine facilities employing more than 3,400 people in the state.