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Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products celebrates 10th Anniversary

May 20, 2015

TOKYO, May 20, 2015 ― Kobe Steel, Ltd. announces that its U.S. joint venture, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC, celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday (May 19, U.S. time). Based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products (also known as KAAP), produces aluminum forged parts for automotive suspensions.

Attending the celebration were Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear; officials from Warren County and Bowling Green; and joint-venture partners Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation. Approximately 150 people from both Japan and the United States attended the event.

At the event, Governor Beshear awarded Kobe Steel President and CEO Hiroya Kawasaki the title of Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Kawasaki commented that through its suspension business, "KAAP ― as a corporate citizen here in Kentucky ― is committed to fulfilling its social responsibilities by contributing not only to environmental conservation, but also job creation in the United States."

KAAP was established in 2003 by Mitsui, Toyota Tsusho and Kobe Steel. Production began in 2005. Owing to increasing demand for aluminum suspensions, KAAP has made additional capital investments over the years. In 2013, KAAP also began production of aluminum cast bars for car air-conditioning compressors, steadily expanding its business.

The need for lighter vehicles will accelerate in the U.S. as cars and light-duty trucks will be required to increase fuel efficiency to 54.5 mpg by 2025 to meet stronger Corporate Average Fuel Economy (or CAFE) standards. With demand anticipated to continue growing for aluminum suspensions, KAAP is working to gain more orders for its aluminum forged parts.

Profile of KAAP

Company name:
Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC
Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA
Toshihiro Katsura
$24 million
Shareholding ratio:
Kobe Steel, Ltd. 60%, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. 25%, Toyota Tsusho Corporation 15%
Approximately 400 (as of the end of March 2015)
July 2003
Start of operations:
May 2005
Description of business:
Production and sale of aluminum forged products and aluminum cast bars
Production capacity:
420,000 pieces per month of aluminum forged products

Celebrating KAAP’s 10th anniversary: Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (fifth from left), Kobe Steel President and CEO Hiroya Kawasaki (fourth from left), and other officials.