Dignitaries and officials from near and far gathered in Salina Friday morning to celebrate the grand opening of Great Plains Manufacturing’s new Construction Equipment (CE) Facility. Kubota Corporation Executives from Japan, as well as state and local government officials were in attendance.
In addition to remarks from Senator Jerry Moran, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, Consul General of Japan Hiroshi Tajima, Great Plains President / CEO Linda Salem, and Kubota President and Representative Director Yuichi “Ken” Kitao, a traditional Japanese Sake Barrel opening ceremony took place.
The facility in Salina will help support growing demands for Kubota construction equipment in the United States, starting with the production of Kubota’s SVL65 compact track loaders.
First announced in 2020, the CE Facility was part of a $53 million expansion and included the renovation of an existing 750,000 sq. ft. facility that had been recently vacated by a major employer in the Salina community, a lightbulb manufacturer.
“The grand opening of our new CE Facility is a major step in growing as a manufacturing hub for Kubota construction equipment with investments totaling over $178 million through 2024. This investment continues to reaffirm Kubota’s commitment to America’s heartland,” said Linda Salem, President and CEO of Great Plains Mfg. “Employment at the CE facility is expected to be at 190 people by the end of 2022, with further plans to grow to more than 900 employees in the future.”
The CE Facility grand opening was commemorated with a tour of the new facility and a sake barrel ceremony – a Japanese tradition, similar to a ribbon-cutting, that symbolizes opening to harmony and good fortune.
Phase I of the project, including mass production of the Kubota SVL65 compact track loaders, was completed earlier this year. The Phase II expansion of the CE Facility will be a $124 million investment that will include the installation of an automotive grade eco-paint system with two paint lines: one for powder and the other for liquid applications. Expanded welding, assembly, and fabrication areas, and the construction of a building addition will increase production capacity and bring more jobs to the Salina community.
Phase II is expected to be up and running by mid-2024, adding about 200 more jobs to the area.
The Salina-based CE Facility will produce Kubota’s SVL65 compact track loaders – a product formerly manufactured in Japan. The grand opening celebrates the move of a mature product to Salina, Kansas, in an effort to bring manufacturing closer to end users in the North American market. As the project nears completion, other types of
Kubota construction equipment will be produced at the CE Facility.