Kenworth
The plant officially opened on March 4, 1974, and the plant’s first truck—a Kenworth W900—rolled off the assembly line a day later.

Kenworth’s Ohio manufacturing plant celebrates 50 years of producing trucks

March 8, 2024
The plant officially opened on March 4, 1974, and the plant’s first truck—a Kenworth W900—rolled off the assembly line a day later.

Kenworth’s truck assembly plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, is celebrating 50 years of building trucks. The plant officially opened on March 4, 1974, and the plant’s first truck—a Kenworth W900—rolled off the assembly line a day later.

Since then, Kenworth Chillicothe plant employees have produced more than 782,000 trucks. The plant employs about 2,500 people and is Kenworth’s largest manufacturing facility.

“Chillicothe is a great place for Kenworth to build trucks because it is close to our customers, suppliers, and, of course, a community of highly skilled employees we are fortunate to call our Kenworth family,” said Jim Walenczak, Kenworth general manager and Paccar VP. “Today, we celebrate 50 years of innovation in Chillicothe, community involvement in Ross County, and the world’s best employees. This milestone is a testament to the dedication of our incredible workforce—both past and present—and Kenworth’s commitment to continued growth in Chillicothe.”

See also: Gallery: 100 years of Kenworth engineers getting muddy

The Kenworth Chillicothe plant is on a 120-acre site 50 miles south of Columbus, Ohio. Since 2018, Kenworth has invested $300 million in the 622,000-square-foot facility, which features manufacturing technologies, including robotic assembly and a paint facility that utilizes the latest industry technology. The multi-level paint facility went into production in October 2021 and is equipped with bell spray head technology that improves the appearance and transfer efficiency of the paint. 

According to Doug VanZuiden, Kenworth Chillicothe plant manager, nearly 40% of the plant’s employees have worked there for more than 15 years. “Our highly experienced, dedicated, and long-term workforce is the secret to building a customer-oriented product and custom-engineered vehicle, and this team excels at building quality, pride, and passion into the world’s best trucks every day,” said VanZuiden. 

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