The president and CEO of General Electric says he expects the second major appliance being manufactured in Louisville to make money when its released, which officials say could be as soon as next month.
Jeff Immelt joined Gov. Steve Beshear and other local leaders to unveil the company’s new bottom loading “French Door” refrigerator. It’s being marketed as an energy efficient appliance and has new features like automatic hot water.
This product is the second to be announced in the past six weeks being manufactured in Louisville’s Appliance Park in Buechel as part of GE’s $800 million investment in area.
Immelt said he would be disappointed if the appliance business wasn’t growing in profit by 2013 and he said he expects the product to be profitable “out of the box.”
“Now I don’t know what’s going to happen in the housing market. I think the economy is going to get better, but we know that everything cycles. But if we develop good products, if we have good retail partners, if we’re dedicated to manufacturing, if we have great teams working together and a private/public partnership, we can build a good business, Immelt told a crowd of over 1,000 including current staff.
The refrigerator alone includes a $250 million investment and 600 job expansion is part of the greater expansion GE is planning at Appliance Park through 2014. This includes adding 1,000 jobs, some of which have already been filled. Immelt said nearly 10,000 people have applied for the 250 jobs posted online last week.
Gov. Beshear said he this shows the demand for jobs.
“The fierce competition of those jobs demonstrates the importance of those jobs to this region,” said Beshear. ”
The $13 dollar wages are nearly half of what experienced employees make, but Immelt calls the wages competitive.
The new product is part of one of its largest marketing campaigns in its history, said Charles “Chip” Blankenship, president of GE Appliances.