Kentucky is third in nation for mid-year auto production

Kentucky ranks third in the nation for mid-year auto production numbers — and it is on pace to top last year's production tally of more than 1 million vehicles, according to state officials.

With more than 657,000 vehicles produced so far in 2013, Kentucky trails only Ohio and Michigan as a top vehicle-producing state. With 657,587 light vehicles produced by mid-year, Kentucky is outperforming last year's total at this time (478,110 vehicles) by more than 37 percent.

The commonwealth is on pace to produce about 290,000 more vehicles than last year's total of 1,025,730, which was the highest output in Kentucky in five years.

After a $1.2 billion investment in its two Louisville plants, Ford has increased production in Kentucky, especially with the popular Ford Escape, which grew from a production of 40,943 in the middle of 2012 to more than 198,000 so far this year. Production numbers also are up for the F-Series Super Duty pickup and the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs, which are all made in Kentucky.