Gov. Matt Bevin kicked off AutoVision 2017 Monday. The annual two–day gathering draws auto industry executives, insiders, and analysts to Lexington.
"I think we're just getting warmed up, I really do," the Republican told the audience at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort.
Bevin offered up an ambitious destination for Kentucky’s auto industry, urging attendees to help make the commonwealth the go-to state for high-quality auto manufacturing. The governor said he wants Kentucky to match Germany's reputation for top notch vehicle design in Europe on this side of the Atlantic.
"They own it in people's minds," he said. "No state in America owns that moniker."
In a half-hour address, the Republican mused on the future of transportation, touching on a recent conversation with Tesla founder Elon Musk. He described the high-profile magnate as an "interesting fellow, a very innovative fellow, a guy who has captured the fascination of many people."
"His predictions are, I think, wishful thinking in a little bit of measure because they sort of dovetail with what he's trying to do, but a lot is changing in the industry," Bevin observed.
The governor told the audience he finds it hard to believe the adoption of driverless cars are as close as some imagine, and he sees a way for Kentucky to carve out a space as a dominant force in manufacturing.
Bevin has been touting a record year for business investment in the state, including a more than $1.3 billion upgrade for the Toyota plant in Georgetown.