Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Michael Shore, MEDC
Meets with Wilhelm Karmann GmbH Executives
After meeting with Eberspacher Group CEO Gunter Baumann at the company's headquarters in Esslinger, Germany today, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced the company's agreement to proceed with Phase 2 of its manufacturing facility in Brighton. The $10 million expansion will add 40 new jobs to Eberspacher's rapidly growing Michigan workforce.
"The growth of Eberspacher's presence in Michigan further underscores the significance of our strategy to attract greater foreign investment, greater investment in research and development and greater investment in North American automotive headquarters," Granholm said. "With this announcement following so closely after the opening of Eberspacher's North American headquarters and tech center in Novi and manufacturing center in Brighton, Eberspacher is again ramping up its investment and commitment to new jobs in our state."
Eberspacher opened its North American headquarters and research and development center in Michigan in Novi in 2002. The company engineers and manufactures exhaust systems and vehicle heating systems, both products that are most cost-effectively produced in close proximity to an automobile's manufacturer. Granholm said Eberspacher chose Michigan, in part, because this state is at the heart of the automotive industry.
"The auto industry is our foundation. It provides the perfect platform for diversifying our economy to include emerging, high-growth industries, but it also offers an opportunity to target the highest-growth automotive-related industries as well," said Granholm. "Companies like Eberspacher that recognize their products need to be close to their automotive customers, need to be in Michigan. We in Michigan need to be reaching out to those companies, and we are."
Phase 1 of the company's 56,000 square foot facility in the Brighton research manufacturing district, its first North American manufacturing plant, was the result of assistance from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The MEDC provided a $420,000 Community Development Block Grant to the city of Brighton to help finance infrastructure improvements that were needed for the new plant.
The meeting with Baumann was one of many Granholm is conducting with company leaders during her five-day investment mission to Germany, to help convince German companies to invest and create new jobs in Michigan.
On Tuesday, Granholm met with Wilhelm Karmann GmbH executives, thanking them for their decision to build a new manufacturing plant in Michigan and to discuss potential future investments.
"With Karmann's tech center already contributing to Michigan's automotive research and development dominance, I expect that the company will continue to prosper, grow and add new jobs in our state," said Granholm. "Michigan is the perfect state for research and engineering companies looking to invest and grow. Karmann's recent commitment to its new manufacturing plant in Plymouth Township further cements the company's partnership with our state."
Among those Karmann leaders who met with Granholm were Executive Vice President Ing. Bernd Lieberoth-Leden; Karmann USA President and CEO Hans-Joachim Emmelmann; Karmann USA Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Olind; and Executive Board Member Wilhelm Dietrich Karmann.
Granholm announced last December that Karmann Automotive would invest $13 million to build a new automotive roof system manufacturing plant in Plymouth Township that is expected to add 250 new employees over the next several years.
Karmann chose Michigan over a competing site in Tennessee, in part because of a Single Business Tax credit offered by the MEDC.