Fehrer Automotive held an official opening and ribbon cutting for a new expansion at its Gadsden plant on Wednesday, June 9, marking continued growth for one of Etowah County’s largest manufacturers.
The company has invested more than $6 million dollars in the 200,000-square foot facility expansion, giving Fehrer a total of 500,000 square feet of space in Gadsden, quadruple the company’s footprint when it first opened a decade ago at 4330 Brooke Avenue.
Fehrer-Gadsden employs approximately 500 people, making it the second-largest foam plant in the Fehrer Group worldwide and one of the largest employers in Etowah County.
“While this expansion will only for now create 15 more jobs, for us more importantly, it frees up space in the original production site to bring more production… into Gadsden and create even more opportunities,” said Fehrer-Gadsden General Manager Matthias Goetz.
The Fehrer Group is one of the worldwide leading specialists for vehicle interior components. The Gadsden plant began by supplying Mercedes Benz in Tuscaloosa and Volkswagen in Chattanooga with two production lines.
Over the last 10 years, Fehrer has added five more production lines and customers including Tesla, BMW, a Mercedes Benz plant in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Commercial Vehicle Group (CVG).
The acquisition of the new Mercedes electric SUV in Tuscaloosa and the Volkswagen electric vehicle in Chattanooga offers further future opportunities for Fehrer-Gadsden.
Thomas Mueller, head of Central Operational Services for Fehrer, gave some insight into the company’s future, which includes focusing on the North American market and expanding production capacities in the U.S.
“The add-on here in our facility in Gadsden fits perfectly in our picture,” he said. “We will work hard to fill up the rest of the building with projects.”
The City of Gadsden and Fehrer Automotive will continue to work together to improve the quality of life for citizens and the business environment in Gadsden and Etowah County.
“This investment shows the commitment from the Fehrer stakeholders and the owner group not just to its current employees, but also to the City of Gadsden as a strategic point worldwide,” said Goetz.
“I’m glad to have Fehrer in Gadsden, and we look forward to continuing to work with them on future projects,” said City of Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton.
“One of my personal goals is to work closely with the city, the local board of industrial development and schools to make sure that we are ready for expansion and that we have a skilled, trained and well-developed workforce,” Goetz said.
The Hollingsworth Company has played an important role in making Fehrer’s Gadsden plant a reality, and speakers thanked Tom Mann, Sr. VP of Industrial Real Estate, at the event.
Goetz noted that the plant’s employees are another essential part of the past and future success of Fehrer-Gadsden.
“Their hard work and dedication every day is the cornerstone for the success of this plant,” he said.