GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A Japanese equipment maker plans to spend $140 million to build a new factory in northeast Georgia, adding 500 workers to the 3,000 it already employs in the region.
Kubota Corp. said Wednesday that it will build a new factory in Gainesville to make front-end loaders.
The company says it will start construction this year and open the new factory in 2024. Kubota already makes front-end loaders at a factory in Jefferson, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) away, but said it needs to free up capacity at the existing facility to make other attachments and implements for tractors and construction equipment.
Kubota Manufacturing of America President Brian Arnold said the expansion would almost double capacity. He said the company is also seeking to improve quality and efficiency through better welding and painting.
Kubota opened a $90 million research and development facility in Gainesville in April, which will eventually employ 200. The company told local news outlets that the new 650,000-square-foot (60,000-square-meter) factory would be located across a state highway from that facility.
“We don’t currently have the facilities to meet customer demand,” Phil Sutton, vice president of Kubota Manufacturing of America, told The Times of Gainesville. “Overall, the agriculture industry and the farming industry for the number of tractors — the market is growing, and for Kubota, North America is our biggest market now.”
Sutton said told WDUN-AM that the factory would make 700 loaders a day.
The company’s southeast division is based in nearby Suwanee.
A local development agency aided the research facility with $90 million in bonds that Kubota will repay. Sutton said the new project may rely on similar financing.