Karmann considering vehicle production in USA

Osnarbrack, Germany. Karmann boss Bernd Lieberoth-Leden wants to expand his North America business to compensate for European profit and volume problems.

The independent vehicle manufacturer and convertible specialist from Westphalia is currently preparing a new plant in Plymouth, Michigan.

The pre-series production of a Karmann-developed folding top for the new Pontiac G6 convertible will start this summer.

The new plant's have two production lines, where 250 employees will manufacture up to 30,000 roofs a year, cost the family business millions, somewhere in the "high two-digit region." The 10-acre site and building cost Karmann Manufacturing LLC about $15 million.

For Lieberoth-Leden, the General Motors contract is only the beginning. A roof project with Chrysler -- reportedly the successor to the Chrysler Sebring -- should also be built in Plymouth.

The Karmann boss says that complete-vehicle production in the United States is also possible. "We are open to all kinds of suggestions," he said.

But the company cannot afford to build a new paint shop.

"Responsibilities would need to distributed differently there," Lieberoth-Leden said.

Talks with the Karmann works council about jobs in German locations are progressing.

Lieberoth-Leden said: "We currently employ more people than we need compared with the lifecycle of the cars we build." But he believes that a solution will be found soon.

0

Shares

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Over the last few months, Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Newsletters