Based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products (also known as KAAP), produces aluminium 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 honour 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 aluminium suspensions, KAAP has made additional capital investments over the years. In 2013, KAAP also began production of aluminium 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 aluminium suspensions, KAAP is working to gain more orders for its aluminium-forged parts.

Picture: 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.