A German auto parts molder and electroplater is on track to build its first North American production plant in Montgomery, Ala.
Gerhardi Kunststofftechnik GmbH will invest $38 million in the project and is due to start construction by the end of 2016, according to Fredy Franke, the new CEO of the U.S. operation.
“Our main customers want us to be available not only in Europe but also on other continents,” Franke said in a Nov. 23 phone interview from Gerhardi's head office in Lüdenscheid, Germany. “The United States is our next big footprint.”
Franke said automaker customers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are locating assembly plants in North America.
Gerhardi expects production in Montgomery to begin by the end of 2018. Franke said his firm will install injection molding presses with clamping forces ranging from 350 to 1,500 tons, plus electroplating equipment to make and assemble auto optical components and trim for interior and exterior applications. Radiator grilles, handles and chrome trim are examples of what Gerhardi has been making in Germany for global OEMs.