Kansas City Emerges as a Leading Auto Hub in the U.S.

During the August 2016 Center for Automotive Research (“CAR”) Management Briefing Seminar in Traverse City, several representatives of the Kansas City region attended to tout Missouri's automotive manufacturing industry. The region continues to expand its influence in the industry with recent announcements of new investments from Ford, GM and their suppliers. The addition of 11 auto suppliers in the past two years created 1,795 new jobs and made Kansas City the second largest auto hub in the U.S. behind Detroit. Examples include Ford's Claycomo plant, which employs more than 7,000 workers who build the top-selling F-150 pickup truck and the Transit utility van, as well as GM's Fairfax plant, which employs 3,500 workers who build the Chevrolet Malibu and an expected new Cadillac model.

Key reasons why Kansas City has become a major hub for automotive production:


  •  Over 18,000 individuals employed in the auto industry
  • $34,820 average wage

  • 4.4% unemployment rate

  • Home of large training centers, such as Magna International's, which will continue to provide skilled workers for the entire auto supply chain

Logistics and Infrastructure

  • The largest rail center in the U.S. by tonnage spanning coast to coast across the U.S. and extending from Canada to Mexico (NAFTA Railway)
  • More Foreign Trade Zone space than any other U.S. city
  • Located at the intersection of four of the nation's major interstate highways (I-35, I-70, I-29, I-49)
  • The Kansas City International Airport, which moves more air cargo each year than any air center in a six-state region
  • Located on the largest navigable inland waterway (MO/MS River system)

Plenty of Space

  • The Hunt Midwest/Sub Tropolis is a $50M automotive alley located in an underground excavated mine which allows for low rents and affordable energy rates
  • The 1,340-acre KC Southern Intermodal Logistics Center is the newest/fastest inland route through North America with 5M sq. ft. of build-to-suit space available to transport auto parts

  • The 260-acre Riversize Horizons Business Park is central to several major highway routes and borders a vast network of local and regional distribution centers

  • The 74-acre Central Industrial Park is directly adjacent to the GM Fairfax Assembly Plant with Union Pacific rail-served sites available with active switch

For automotive companies wanting to locate facilities in this region, the state and local communities have been very supportive with their key incentives, including Missouri Works, a refundable or transferable tax credit, property tax relief afforded through Ch.100 financing, exemptions from sales/use tax for manufacturing equipment and grants to support infrastructure development and training. To advise companies on how to secure these incentives, Duff & Phelps has opened an office in Missouri with three knowledgeable business incentives professionals, two of whom previously worked for state and local government economic development organizations. Our professionals have the expertise to help you efficiently navigate the process and maximize your opportunities.

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