Subaru of Indiana Automotive announced today the Lafayette plant will be increasing its workforce and production by nearly a third -- and adding 1,200 new jobs -- as part of its plan to increase its production output.
SIA is investing $140 million dollars to up production by nearly 100,000 thousand vehicles a year. SIA currently produces about 300,000 cars each year.
The expansion will take place over the next two years, and most of the jobs will be on the production line.
SIA Vice President Tom Easterday expects the new hires will come from within Indiana:
"If you take the surrounding counties plus Tippecanoe, it’s about 85-percent of our associates," he explains. "So we already draw from Indianapolis, Kokomo, and other areas outside of the immediate area, and we’ll probably continue to do that with these 1,200 jobs."
The announcement comes shortly after Governor Mike Pence’s economic development trip to Japan, in which he met with Fuji Heavy Industries, which owns SIA. He says Indiana sports the largest per-capita Japanese investment in America.
"That’s certainly reflective of a pro-business environment," Pence says, "but that also reflects something deeper -- a common foundation in work ethic and a history in manufacturing excellence that makes that kind of investment possible."
Pence says during his visits to Japan, he's learned a Japanese word for the kind of relationship the country shares with Hoosiers: "Kizuna" is a word for a special kind of bond based on friendship and trust. He says the cooperation between the two is an example of such a bond.
Last year, SIA sunk nearly $400 million into expanding the Lafayette plant, adding a massive paint shop and engine assembly section to accommodate the planned increase in production. In late 2016, the plant is slated to begin production on Subaru's Impreza model.