Kenworth’s Chillicothe, Ohio Manufacturing Plant Celebrates 50 Years of Producing the World’s Best Trucks

The Kenworth truck assembly plant in Chillicothe, Ohio celebrated 50 years of building the World’s Best® trucks in March. 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 in alignment with the company’s core values of quality, innovation and state-of-the-art technology. The plant employs approximately 2,500 people, one of the largest employers in Ross County (where Chillicothe resides), 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 vice president. “We are proud to 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.”

The Kenworth Chillicothe plant is located 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 that features advanced manufacturing technologies, including robotic assembly, and a state-of-the-art paint facility that utilizes the latest technology in the industry. 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. In 2022, the Kenworth Chillicothe plant received two Manufacturing Leadership Awards for its new Kenworth Paint Facility and Henrob Error Proofing project from the National Association of Manufacturers. In 2020, the plant received an Encouraging Environmental Excellence “E3” Gold Award from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for going beyond regulatory compliance requirements for environmental stewardship activities and in 2006, was recognized by Quality Magazine for its “Plant of the Year” Award. Supporting the local Ross County community is important to Kenworth Chillicothe. For the past 30 years, the plant has partnered with the United Way of Ross County to raise money for the organization’s philanthropic programs. In 2023, the plant raised approximately $240,000 through its annual United Way campaign and Kenworth truck parade 50/50 raffle. Since the beginning of the partnership, Kenworth Chillicothe employees have raised more than $2 million and PACCAR has contributed nearly $5 million to the United Way of Ross County.


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