Kohler Engines made a multi-million dollar investment to increase production at their Hattiesburg, MS, manufacturing facility. The facility itself consists of 200,000 square feet. Kohler says the expansion is due to the high-demand for the company’s newest twin-cylinder engine lines, the Confidant, 7000 Series and 6000 Series. These engines are designed primarily for zero-turn-radius (ZTR) mowers and residential riding lawn mowers.
“We’re making a multi-million dollar investment to extend our leadership position in these consumer ride and light commercial categories,” said Eric Hudak, marketing manager – consumer ride and walk engines for Kohler Engines. “We’ve leveraged our commercial expertise to design our 7000 Series with 2x longer useful engine life and our Confidant engines to meet our most stringent commercial durability tests. In addition, we’ve integrated our Smart-Choke starting system into many of these products to provide an extremely reliable starting experience without the need to choke or prime the engine—you can just turn the key and go. Our customers have noticed these innovations and that’s resulting in great growth and our need to expand.”
According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the market for ZTRs is increasing significantly, growing at double-digit levels each year between 2012 and 2014. Residential riders are also forecasted to increase in demand—although not at the rate of ZTRs.
With the expansion of the Hattiesburg facility, Kohler says that they will be adding 100 new jobs, with the vast majority of them being full-time year-round production and support positions. The manufacturing facility currently has more than 200 fulltime hourly associates and more than 300 temporary workers who typically work on a seasonal basis.
“We’re proud to be adding jobs in Mississippi, and we’re excited about the American craftsmanship and ingenuity that will continue to drive the success of our 7000 Series, 6000 Series, and Confidant engines moving forward,” Hudak added. “We spend a great deal of time focusing our engine designs to meet the durability and reliability needs of our customers, and we’re pleased that the market had responded so favorably.”