Kiekert Expanding Its Operations In Southeastern Michigan

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The automotive-lock system producer Kiekert AG announced Monday that it will invest $2 million to expand its U.S. headquarters and production facilities in Wixom. Production at the plant is expected to increase from an estimated 350,000 door-latch modules this year to more than 1.5 million units in 2015, and annual sales are projected to nearly triple to more than $35 million over the same period.

Karl Krause, CEO of Kiekert, says the expansion includes the installation of new production, prototyping and product-test equipment, extensive office renovations, and the addition of a new technology showroom. Employment is expected to increase from 80 workers to 120 within the next 12 months.

Located in Oakland County, the 50,000-square-foot plant produces door-latch modules for Ford Motor Company. “The expansion will be beneficial for our logistics processes to support Ford production,” Krause says.

The investment is part of the German company’s global expansion plan, which includes expanding its Prelouc production operations in the Czech Republic (the biggest latch producing plant in the world) and opening a new plant in Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia early next year.

Headquartered in Heiligenhaus, Germany, Kiekert opened its Wixom plant in 1995 and has had facilities in the Detroit area for more than 25 years. As the leading engineering and program management center for the NAFTA region, the Wixom facility is responsible for about $180 million in revenue.

In total, the company employs more than 4,500 people and expects to report sales of more than $850 million for the 2013 calendar year.

Known for its innovative products and technology, the tier-one automotive supplier recently unveiled a 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 1 pound per vehicle. 

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