Germany's iwis to Make Timing Belts in Murray
By WestKyStar Staff
MURRAY, KY - A new manufacturing facility with 75 jobs is coming to western Kentucky within the next year.

Calling it 'Christmas in November', Murray,'s Mayor Bill Wells stood alongside Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and representatives of iwis  (ee'-vis) Friday to announce that the German automotive supplier plans to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Murray.

The project will create 75 new, full-time jobs and entail a more than $12.5 million investment in the Commonwealth.

Gov. Beshear met with officials from iwis to discuss the potential project during an economic development trip to Germany during the summer, and that was apparently what closed the deal. The family-owned company was considering Detroit, and then Tennessee or South Carolina, but they were so impressed by Beshear that they decided to come to Kentucky. After seeing the former Webasto building, they picked Murray as their newest plant location.
“I was very optimistic after meeting with iwis officials in Germany, and I’m thrilled with their decision to locate in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “This company further enhances Kentucky’s thriving automotive industry, and 75 jobs will have a powerful impact on the community, not only now, but for generations to come.”
Formed in Germany in 1916, iwis first began with success in the production of bicycle chains, and eventually became the iwis Group, a global technology leader in high-quality automotive and industrial chains. The company now has more than 1,000 employees at 22 facilities worldwide and plans to operate a 119,000-square-foot facility, located off U.S. Highway 641 North in Murray. Employees at the facility will manufacture timing drive systems for engines, and the operation will start at the end of 2013 and will ramp up production in 2014.
“iwis is proud to come to Murray,” said iwis Managing Director Johannes Winklhofer. “On behalf of my team, including Martin Kohn with global production and Holger Frank with U.S. sales, we have to say thank you for the great support of Gov. Beshear and his team at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; without them iwis would not be here. Also, special thanks to Mark Manning and the members of MCEDC, whose support made this a very easy decision.”
“I welcome iwis to Murray,” Sen. Ken Winters, of Murray. “I know that a company with such a long history will find a good home here in Murray, where we cherish small-town values, hard work and dedication.”
“With an enviable legacy dating back nearly a century, iwis knows what it takes to succeed,” said Rep. Melvin Henley, of Murray. “The same can be said of our community, given our second-to-none workforce and an unparalleled quality of life. Together, this has the makings of a strong partnership that will last for many years down the road. I want to thank our state and local officials for helping to make this possible.”
“Both as Mayor of Murray and a member of the MCEDC Board of Directors, I am delighted to see iwis bring its first U.S. manufacturing facility to Murray,” said Murray Mayor Bill Wells. “The EDC, along with the Cabinet for Economic Development, has been working on this project for over nine months, and it is terrific to see all of that effort pay off. iwis is a fine example of a family-owned business, and we look forward to iwis being here for many years, growing the company and providing good jobs.”
“We really are proud to have this very fine company moving to Calloway County,” said Calloway County Judge-Executive Larry Elkins. “It takes hard work and creative people for projects like this to materialize. This company could literally have gone anywhere in the United States, and out of all the towns and counties, they chose us. What people may not know is that, in addition to the EDC and the Cabinet for Economic Development, Gov. Beshear got personally involved in this project, and it is no exaggeration to say that his visit to Germany earlier this year probably helped iwis choose us. For that, we are truly grateful. I also want to thank iwis for showing confidence in us to make this project work. The kind of company we want, iwis will provide really good jobs at good wages so that our people can grow families for a strong future in Kentucky and Calloway County.”
To encourage the investment and job creation in Murray, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets. 
For more information on iwis, visit

Published 11:37 AM, Friday Nov. 30, 2012
Updated 09:05 PM, Wednesday Dec. 05, 2012

Please login to leave a comment.
  • View Comment
    View (48) Comments