LG Electronics took a ceremonial step closer to domestic manufacturing yesterday when dignitaries including U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker joined management in breaking ground on the company’s first U.S. appliance plant.
The $250 million washer factory, to be built in Clarksville, Tenn., will house both fabrication and sub-assembly operations, and promises to be the world’s most advanced production plant for washing machines, LG said. Employing 600 workers, the highly-automated facility will be capable of spitting out 10 fully-assembled front- or top-load washers every 10 seconds, and will permit production line model changes in less than four minutes.
LG said a U.S. manufacturing presence “will accelerate delivery of its laundry line to better meet domestic demand,” and that the 310-acre Montgomery County site offers the potential for expansion into other majap categories.
LG’s 310-acre production site can accommodate expansion into other majap categories.
A U.S. factory should also help relieve the anti-dumping duties imposed on LG (and Samsung) for Chinese-made washers, and could preclude any further actions by the Commerce Department against LG after shifting its laundry production to Vietnam and Thailand.
LG said it has accelerated the construction timeline and now expects to begin producing washers in Tennessee as early as the first quarter of 2019. It has already begun hiring for the project.
“We are proud to make further investments in America, to create even more U.S. jobs, and to bring state-of-the-art home appliance production technology to the great state of Tennessee,” said Dan Song, president, LG Home Appliance and Air Solutions Co. “We couldn’t have selected a better location for our state-of-the-art facility. Today’s groundbreaking in Clarksville brings us another step closer to producing premium LG washing machines in the United States.”
Added Secretary Ross, “The fact that one of the world’s most innovative and successful home appliance companies is establishing its largest U.S. home appliance operation here in Tennessee is a testament to the strength of our country’s business climate, the promise of our long-term prosperity and our exceptional U.S. workforce. This is exactly the kind of job creation and investment that the Administration is seeking for American workers, and I look forward to having LG’s high-quality home appliances made right here in the United States starting in early 2019.”
Also on hand for the groundbreaking were South Korea’s U.S. Ambassador Ho-Young Ahn; U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn; LG Electronics USA president/CEO William Cho; and Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan.
Under terms of the development deal, LG will receive support for construction, infrastructure improvements, job training and veteran recruitment from Tennessee and Montgomery County. The project also includes incentives from the Tennessee Valley Authority.
LG will be the third major corporate presence in Clarksville, following Hankook, the Korean tire manufacturer, and Google, which maintains a data center there.