A German automotive parts company plans to open its first United States plant in Murray. iwis is hiring 75 employees for its plant that will make engine timing drives.
The company takes over a nearly 119-thousand square foot facility north of town. The building was held by another auto parts manufacturer, Webasto, that shut down in 2008.
iwis Managing Director Johannes Winklhofer says the company makes a $12.5 million investment in the operation.
“iwis got awarded a big engine program from General Motors, and therefore it was necessary to invest in a U. S. based production facility, and late last year we started a site selection process and during the site selection process we found Murray," he said.
Winklhofer says the company hopes to grow its U. S. business over the next several years.
Local economic development officials and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear courted iwis this summer both through U. S. meetings and a trip to Germany. Beshear says Murray was an easy sell.
“And then just for new companies that we bring here to see the success of other companies that are here and the great quality of life that their employees can have here really makes it a lot easier to make that sell and get that company here," said Beshear.
The announcement comes on the heels of recent job loss in Calloway County. Southeastern Book Company and College Book Renter have both filed for bankruptcy. The county also saw a nearly full percentage point increase in unemployment between September and October. The iwis plant starts production in 2013, with increasing work in 2014.