Kiekert AG, the world's leading supplier of automotive lock systems and components, is investing $2 million to expand its U.S. headquarters and production facilities in Michigan.
Employment at the company's 50,000 square-foot plant, in the Detroit suburb of Wixom, is expected to increase significantly. Today, the majority of the company's 80 employees are focused on engineering and program management. Kiekert is confident it will increase its total employees to more than 120 within the next 12 months.
Located in Oakland County, the plant currently produces door-latch modules for Ford. As the leading engineering and program management center for the NAFTA region the Kiekert U.S. location is responsible for approximately $180 million in revenues.
Kierkert's CEO, Dr. Karl Krause, said the expansion includes the installation of new production, prototyping and product-test equipment, extensive office renovations, and the addition of a new technology showroom.
He added that production at the Wixom plant is expected to increase from an estimated 350,000 door-latch modules this year to more than 1.5-million units in 2015. Annual sales are projected to nearly triple to more than $35 million over the same three-year period.
Headquartered in Heiligenhaus, Germany, Kiekert opened its Wixom plant in 1995 and has had facilities in the Detroit area for more than 25 years.
Known for its innovative products and technology, the tier one automotive supplier recently unveiled a new, lighter-weight safety system to prevent car and light-truck doors from opening during accidents. The company's active inertia system requires fewer components, takes up less space and provides potential weight saving options of up to half of a kilogram per vehicle.
About the size of two small match boxes, the unique system is designed to fit into a vehicle's door latch and prevents the latch from opening during an accident. Conventional systems are built into the door itself.
The German-based supplier's global product portfolio currently includes side-door latches, latch modules, trunk-lid latches and actuators. With more than 900 patents, the company serves as a development partner to automakers around the world with products on more than 50 brands worldwide.
The company's $2 million investment in its U.S. facilities is part of a global expansion plan. Kiekert established a full development and production center in Changshu, China, five years ago, which doubled production capacity last year. The locking system producer is currently expanding its Prelouc production operations in the Czech Republic, which is the biggest latch producing plant in the world, and will open a new plant in Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia early next year.
Worldwide, the company employs more than 4,500 people and expects to report sales of more than $850 million for the 2013 calendar year.
Additional information about Kiekert is available on the Internet at www.kiekert.com.