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Posted by Heidi Schwartz Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems Inc., a German-based automotive supplier, plans to establish a manufacturing operation in Russell Springs, KY. The new plant will create 155 full-time jobs and entail a more than $29 million investment in the state. The announcement marks the third German company to locate a new operation in Kentucky this year, all three of which serve the auto industry. The 85-year-old family enterprise is a pioneer in the processing of plastics and produces high-end vent and trim systems for top automotive original equipment manufacturers around the world. To meet increasing customer demand, the company is looking to establish its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary in Russell Springs, where the plant will manufacture parts for companies such as Ford, GM, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and more. “At the end of an intensive selection process where we checked 69 locations, we decided to choose Russell Springs,” said Wilhelm Wirth, member of the Dr. Schneider board of directors. “The decisive factors included the quality and expandability of the facility and the competitive location costs. The professional cooperation with the local and state business development departments confirmed our decision as well. We are convinced that at this location we will be able to work more efficiently for our current customers, including Mercedes, BMW and Ford, and that we can win new partners.” Kentucky has experienced tremendous success in foreign direct investment growth, adding nearly 100 new facilities over the past decade. In 2012, nearly 35 percent of all capital investment and almost 20 percent of new jobs announced in the manufacturing, service and technology sector were a result of foreign-owned companies. Kentucky maintains economic development offices in Hamburg, Germany and Tokyo, Japan, which work to cultivate new and existing relationships abroad for the Commonwealth. The location of Dr. Schneider also further strengthens Kentucky’s auto industry, which currently boasts over 450 motor vehicle-related facilities across the state. Just last year, Kentucky’s auto production numbers topped one million vehicles, the highest in five years. Year-to-date 2013, Kentucky ranks third in light vehicle production in the United States and first on a per capita basis. “I am thrilled that Dr. Schneider Automotive has chosen our people and our area,” said Sen. Chris Girdler, of Somerset. “Russell County and the Lake Cumberland region have proven to be fully capable as manufacturing hosts, and we look forward to showing our newest community partner all we have to offer.” “Not only is their decision a reflection of Kentucky’s stature as an automotive manufacturing hub, but also speaks to the available qualified workforce that Russell and surrounding counties offer to companies looking to locate in our region,” said Rep. Jeff Hoover, of Jamestown. To encourage the investment and job creation in Russell Springs, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $4 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.