Kawasaki's Maryville Engine Production Facility Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Grand Rapids, Michigan -
Sep. 30, 2014

More than eight million units later, the plant’s distinct impact on the brand’s success resonates more than ever.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Aug 22, 2014) ---Twenty-five years ago, Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. (KMM), which had until then been producing well-known recreational and utility vehicles in Lincoln, Neb., envisioned an ability to affect growth in another of the brand’s specialty areas—general purpose engines. Now, following the production of more than eight million units since launching its Maryville, Mo. engine facility, the company’s Midwest production core serves as an example of how to do things right.

Straddling the outskirts of Maryville, this nearly 114-acre site employs almost 850 full-time staff, complimented by more than 250 contract workers, all dedicated to assuring that Kawasaki’s original equipment customers, as well as the 7,400-strong dealer network receives some of the finest engines available.

KMM has seen its two production facilities become significant contributors to their respective local—and statewide—economies.

And, according to Steve Bratt, vice president and plant manager of the engine facility, the economic reach extends virtually across the country, as parts sourced from scores of states ultimately impact companies and communities elsewhere.

Kawasaki’s engines, which now number in excess of two-dozen different model variations, have through the years become favorites of major brand lawn and garden equipment marketers as well as industrial and golf industry vehicle manufacturers. Importantly, the Kawasaki engine image has been further strengthened by the strong recognition provided by end-users and the professional lawn care service providers.

Recent independent research shows that Kawasaki is the single most preferred name in that business segment. No small feat for a brand that had made its U.S. mark on consumers through its motorcycles, ATVs, and JET SKI® personal watercraft and MULE® utility vehicles.

The research, commissioned by KMC and conducted in 2013 by Isometric Solutions, points to an overwhelming acceptance by turf pros, who found the Maryville-built engines to be favored almost two-to-one over the next closest brand. Kawasaki was found to be the best suited engine brand in several key categories: dependability, performance, ease of maintenance, overall value, power, and torque.

Rodger Howe, vice president of the Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) Engine Division, has seen the impact of the Maryville output first-hand.

According to Howe, “The growth of our brand is directly attributable to the expertise and capabilities of our KMM team, working hand-in-hand with the division’s sales, marketing, and technical groups to move the needle in the right direction.”

“Our production operation continues to have an impact on our market positioning and as we move into new and important areas for Kawasaki, Maryville will only increase our value,” said Howe.

“Helping to celebrate this important milestone, for each of us, is a small way of thanking the hundreds of employees here in Maryville that make not just our engines, but help to solidify our brand reputation, “ Howe concluded.

Much of that reputation growth is attributable to the OEM companies—many of the most recognized names in the industry—that have installed Kawasaki’s engines in their branded lawn care equipment.

Equally important to that growing reputation, said Howe, is the strength of Kawasaki’s dealer network, which he credits with daily maintenance of the brand’s relationship with lawn care professionals. He says the company’s dealer partners play an integral role and their attention to end-user needs is “second to none” in this industry.

Twenty-five years ago, the thought that KMM could recreate the earlier success it had with America’s first foreign-owned vehicle manufacturing facility in Lincoln was an idea. Today, as the role played by the Maryville team increases in importance the idea has crystallized into an everyday expectation.

Expectations fulfilled for everyone associated with Kawasaki’s Engine Division.

Two men talking in front of an engine



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