The Indiana Office of Tourism Development has designated Subaru of Indiana the official vehicle of the state’s Bicentennial Torch Relay, which kicks off a year from Wednesday.
Even though the torch itself won’t do much riding inside the cars (it is, after all, meant to be seen) Subaru is furnishing ten vehicles that will support the so-called “torch caravan”: a group of government and tourism officials who will assist the flame as it makes its 2,300-mile journey across the state.
The cars will be made at Subaru of Indiana Automotive’s Lafayette plant and will be loaned to the state for the relay next year.
Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann says the partnership represents the state’s manufacturing identity:
"We have more manufacturing jobs per capita than any other state in the nation," says Ellspermann, "We’re very proud of that we are going to continue to grow that. We think it’s part of our past, but we’re very pleased to say we see it as a key part of our future."
Subaru of Indiana Vice President Tom Easterday says the state’s tourism office contacted the automaker about the partnership:
We’re the heart of the automotive industry," says Easterday, referring to Indiana. "It goes all the way back to Elwood Haynes driving his first truly gasoline-powered car on Pumpkin Vine Pike in Kokomo... We’re where it all started, and we have a lot of good automakers located in the state of Indiana, a lot of great suppliers."
The partnership also reflects the state as a home for foreign companies, such as the Japanese-owned Subaru.
The most recent data from the Indiana Business Research Center and IU’s Kelley School of Business indicates 5 percent of the state’s private workforce is employed by foreign companies. 64 percent of those jobs are in manufacturing.
The torch, which is being designed by Purdue engineering students, will begin its journey exactly a year from today and complete its 92-county tour over the course of five weeks.