MONTGOMERY, Alabama – At a groundbreaking ceremony today, German auto supplier Gerhardi Kuntstofftechnik announced plans to invest $37.9 million and create 235 jobs in Montgomery to create its first North American manufacturing facility.
“This is a great opportunity for Gerhardi, and we are very excited,” Gerhardi Managing Director Reinhard Hoffman said. “Montgomery Industrial Park offers a great infrastructure, attractive support and is located close to many OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).
“These benefits convinced us that this is the best place for our new facility.”
Gerhardi officials were joined at the groundbreaking ceremony this morning by state and local leaders, as well as officials from the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. Construction on Gerhardi’s new Alabama facility will begin in 2017, with the start of production slated for 2019.
“Alabama’s leading advanced industry is the automotive industry, and it’s closely followed by the aerospace industry, which has grown tremendously thanks to Alabama’s involvement in the Farnborough Airshow this week and others in previous years,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “This week, while I’m continuing Alabama’s aerospace mission in London, I’m honored to welcome Gerhardi’s first US automotive supplier plant to Montgomery.
“We look forward to forging a strong and lasting partnership with the company,” he added.
BOOSTING A ‘GLOBAL PRESENCE’
Gerhardi, which was founded in 1796 as a maker of brass and copper buckles, now focuses on the production of innovative interior and exterior auto plants. It produces radiator grilles, handles, chrome trims and other parts for clients worldwide.
The company will join a large network of auto suppliers in the Montgomery region.
“Montgomery has assembled a robust network of Asian auto suppliers to service the Hyundai assembly operation,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “As a German company, Gerhardi adds another dimension to Montgomery’s auto supply chain, along with 235 new jobs.”
Gerhardi is headquartered in Lüdenscheid, Germany. It employs approximately 1,400 workers at four production plants throughout Germany and has annual sales totaling $200 million.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said landing Gerhardi’s first U.S. plant in a major victory for the city, which has developed a strong and expanding automotive manufacturing cluster.
“Gerhardi could have chosen any place in North America to locate this facility and they chose the ‘Capital of Dreams,’” Strange said. “This shows that we are not only excelling nationally, we are also continuing to boost our global presence.”
Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr. said a cooperative effort helped land the Gerhardi and that support for the company will continue as the project gets under way.
“This is a company that has both a rich history and a solid reputation for being on the cutting edge of the future,” Dean said. “Their investment in the River Region speaks volumes about what we have to offer.”
Montgomery Chamber Chairman A. Bruce Crawford said Gerhardi’s decision sends a message about the area’s advantages for businesses.
“In Montgomery they saw a place that could uphold their high standards of excellence,” he said. “It is certainly exciting to know that we are part of an organization so firmly rooted in the future.”