Osaka, Japan-based Kubota Corp.’s two U.S. subsidiaries announced on May 26 that they will build a new manufacturing plant and expand existing operations in Gainesville.

Kubota Manufacturing of America Corp. is to locate a new plant on 180 acres at the Gateway Industrial Centre three miles from its existing facility. Kubota Tractor Corp. (KTC), the California based marketer and distributor of Kubota products, also was named in the announcement. 

The existing KMA facility is to be expanded to increase production of its growing turf business. The facility currently employs 1,300 workers and has been in operation since 1968. 

Construction of the new facility is to begin in September with a goal of being completed by the spring of 2007. Once fully operational, the new plant is to manufacture Kubota’s rough terrain vehicles at an annual rate of 50,000 units.

Company officials have said that the new facility and expansion will enable quicker response times to meet market demand for Kubota’s sub-compact tractors, turf products and utility vehicles.

Hironobu Kubota, president of KMA, said in the announcement that following the expansion the company will be able to increase production capacity by 60 percent over the next five years.

Tim Evans, vice president of economic development at the Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce, told Global Atlanta that once the new 502,000 square-foot-facility is completed an estimated 600-to-650 new jobs will be in place for a total of almost 2,000.

He added that Kubota is one of the largest manufacturers in Georgia with the current KTC Southeast Division headquarters in Suwanee, a national distribution center in Jefferson and Kubota Industrial Equipment, also in Jefferson, which produces Kubota implements, including loaders and backhoes.

Kubota has been in the forefront of a local effort to introduce high school students into the workforce through paid internships and early training.

With the baby boom generation retiring, Mr. Evans said local manufacturers like manufacturers throughout the country have had problems replacing the retirees. 

The  internship programs being adopted locally, however, introduce and prepare high school students for state-of-the art manufacturing careers. Students who complete the training programs and earn a high school degree are offered full-time jobs with benefits.

Mr. Evans also said that the expansion should have a positive impact of Kubota’s suppliers such as Shintone USA Inc., which manufactures welded tractor parts, and Tasumi Intermodal (USA) Inc., which offers warehousing and distribution services.

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