German auto supplier Gerhardi opens first US plant in Alabama

German auto supplier Gerhardi opens first US plant in Alabama
Gerhardi invested nearly $42 million to open its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Alabama. The plant will create 235 jobs in Montgomery. (Montgomery Chamber)

German auto supplier Gerhardi Inc. this week marked the official opening of its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Montgomery, a $41.6 million plant that will employ up to 235 workers.

Gerhardi Managing Director Rienhard Hoffman said the company is excited to launch operations at the state-of-the-art injection molding, electroplating and assembly plant in Alabama’s capital city.

Montgomery has proven itself as the perfect location for Gerhardi to introduce our processes and product to the automotive world in the U.S.,” Hoffman said. “As Alabama continues to grow and develop as one of the leading areas in automotive manufacturing, Gerhardi Inc. looks forward to the many opportunities for growth in the future.”

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Gerhardi is a world-class addition to the state’s robust network of auto suppliers. The company first announced its plans in 2016.

“We look forward to forging a strong and lasting partnership with Gerhardi and hope to see them grow in Montgomery as Alabama’s auto industry continues to expand its footprint across the state,” he said.

Evolution

Gerhardi, founded in 1796, originally manufactured brass and copper buckles. Over the years, it expanded its activities to the production of tea and coffee sets. By 1952, it began to shift focus to production of automotive components.

Gerhardi has a 223-year history and has undergone several transformations, moving from buckles to coffee sets to auto parts. (Gerhardi)

Today the company is known for its innovation in developing and producing superior interior and exterior plastic automotive parts.

Using such technologies as injection molding, advanced electroplating and hot stamping, Gerhardi manufactures a variety of products including radiator grilles, handles and chrome trims for its clients worldwide, according to the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

“This is a company that has both a rich history and a solid reputation for being on the cutting edge of the future. Their investment in the River Region speaks volumes about what we have to offer,” said Elton N. Dean Sr., chairman of the Montgomery County Commission.

Mayor Todd Strange said it’s significant that Gerhardi could have picked any location for its first U.S. factory but selected Montgomery.

“This shows that we are not only excelling nationally, but we are also continuing to boost our global presence. Gerhardi has seen that great things happen when you do business in Montgomery.”

Gerhardi is headquartered in Lüdenscheid, Germany. It employs approximately 1,400 workers at four production plants throughout Germany with annual sales totaling approximately $200 million, according to the Montgomery Chamber.

“It is certainly exciting to know that we are part of an organization so firmly rooted in the future,” said Willie Durham, chairman of the Montgomery Chamber.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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