GE Appliances will invest $200 million to expand its dishwasher and laundry operations in Kentucky and create 400 new jobs in the process, the company announced Monday at its Appliance Park facility in Louisville, Kentucky.
The expansion will make room for the creation of a new top-load washer and dryer that will be available next year. The new washer will have a large capacity and better connected capabilities, said Peter Pepe, vice president of clothes care at GE Appliances.
GE expects to increase its laundry manufacturing capacity by roughly 20 percent. GE's dishwasher facility is expected to grow even more, as the investment is expected to increase dishwasher production by 35 percent.
A bipartisan group of politicians -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), US Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer -- appeared at the announcement. They commended GE's contribution to Louisville and the rest of the state, along with its innovation in manufacturing.
"This is a very very difficult world to do business in because we know technology particularly is changing at such a rapid rate, and keeping up is not the easiest thing to do," Yarmuth said.
GE Appliances has been aggressive in creating an ecosystem of appliances that connect to the internet, including ranges, wall ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, dryers and microwaves. The manufacturer has also incorporated voice commands into large appliances through integrations with the digital assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
"This is just the beginning of a whole new era where people a generation from now would never recognize the types of appliances we grew up with," Bevin said.
The announcements come the same morning as the separate company General Electric (the part not owned by Haier) replaced its CEO after 14 months. GE's expansion will take place this year and next and comes after a $275 million expansion that included 650 jobs earlier this year.