The rise of the automotive industry in Kansas City
Kansas City is officially the nation's second-largest auto hub. City’s long history of auto production dates back to 1913 when Henry Ford made a decision to choose this region to be the first one outside of Detroit for auto production. The most recent expansion of Ford Motor Co. in this particular area was in 2011. At that time, the company announced a $1.2 billion investment that was meant to expand and retool Kansas City Assembly Plant, which is located in Claycomo. This plant is responsible for manufacturing the Transit and the F-150 full-size van.
Ford has a strong and steady relationship with area school districts which are part of the company’s Next Generation Learning initiative. Launched in 2006, that initiative provides mentoring, technical support, coaching, and financial support to 20 communities around the country.
Kansas City Assembly Plant uses interesting and innovative supply chain structure called Automotive Alley. It consists of both above- and below-ground real estate connected by truck-friendly roads that allow vehicles to have access to both the GM and Ford plants.
In Hunt Midwest’s SubTropolis, part of Automotive Alley is located 100 feet below ground where automotive tenants lease 360,000 sq. f. SubTropolis is a subterranean fortress that is made from limestone which in comparison to concrete is 6 times stronger and also has a constant ambient temperature and low levels of humidity, thus providing low energy rates, because there’s no need for either cooling or heating.
Automotive Alley also encompasses part of Hunt Midwest Business Center, which is situated directly above the underground space, that stretches across 1,800 acres. Currently, automotive users occupy 100+ acres, including Ford’s North American Vehicle Logistics Outbound Shipping facility, which is attracting more Ship-Thru vendors and Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifiers to the area.
Other logistic assets that contribute to providing quality auto repair in Kansas City include the 260-acre Riverside Horizons Business Park and the 1,340-acre KC Southern Intermodal Logistics Center. Kansas City has the largest rail center in the country by tonnage and has more foreign trade zone space than any other city in the country.
All of the aforementioned logistic assets have contributed to developing a strong Kansas City automotive sector. The State was well aware of the fact that it must work extra hard in order to ensure that the automotive industry does not uproot its plants and because of that, it passed the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act in 2010. This legislation included tax incentives, which on the other hand contributed to Ford’s desire to fully commit to the Kansas City Assembly Plant.
Since the original Manufacturing Jobs Act was passed, the Missouri Economic Research Information Center has published statistics which show that manufacturers and suppliers in the automotive industry in Missouri have invested $1.29 billion in capital investments, added or retained 14,000 jobs and supported an additional 21,000 jobs.
In conclusion, there’s every indication that the automotive sector in Kansas City and Missouri State in general, will continue to grow. The number of licensed auto repair shops offering a top-notch auto repair in Kansas City will increase each passing year, thus providing more and more jobs in the automotive sector.