FLETCHER, N.C., July 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Continental, one of the world's leading automotive suppliers, today announced plans to invest more than $35 million in its Henderson, North Carolina facility and create an additional 40 new jobs over the next five years. The driving force behind this investment is the increased demand in Electronic Integrated Parking Brake (e-IPB) production.
"With this investment, we will be able to increase our current volume to support a growing market, improve our manufacturing processes and prepare for additional production demand in the future," said Jeff Scott, plant manager of the Henderson facility. "Today's announcement shows Continental's commitment to further automotive growth and development in the region."
The 250,000 square-foot manufacturing facility, located in the Town of Fletcher, currently employs more than 600 local residents and produces state-of-the-art brake calipers for automobiles and light trucks. The Henderson facility has experienced unprecedented growth in both business production and employment over the last few years.
Due to the increasing demand for brake calipers throughout North America, the Henderson plant produced a record-breaking seven million calipers in 2012. That production rate is estimated to jump to nearly 9 million in 2013 and this positive growth is expected to continue out beyond the 2014 time frame.
"Since 2009, Henderson has been challenged with a 34 percent, year-over-year increase in demand for our brake calipers," said Scott. "We currently equip 60,000 vehicles with our calipers each week and have nearly doubled our workforce over the past three years – which is a success in itself. These achievements would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of our highly skilled and dedicated employees or the continued loyalty of our customers. The growing demand in our products has created a great business opportunity for us to invest, expand and hire."
Contributing to this significant growth in production is the addition of five new vehicle platform customers that Continental now supports at its Henderson facility. In addition to these programs, the Henderson plant is working in conjunction with Continental's Rheinbollen, Germany facility to launch simultaneously a new electro-mechanical caliper with integrated parking brake (e-IPB).
"The e-IPB Caliper will introduce new challenges to our Henderson team," said Scott. "The assembly process relies heavily on robotics, integrated work cells, and high-tech programming. This is a great opportunity to improve our manufacturing processes and demonstrate the technical competence and adaptability of our employees."
The $35 million investment will include the construction of approximately 88,000 additional square feet of production and warehouse space, as well as the acquisition and installation of new production equipment.
The Henderson plant is part of Continental's Hydraulic Brake Systems Business Unit in the NAFTA region and has become a strong contributor in the company's strategy to further develop Foundation and Electronic IPB product segments in the region.
With sales of €32.7 billion in 2012, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires, and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has approximately 173,000 employees in 46 countries.
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SOURCE Continental Automotive