Automotive exhaust and HVAC supplier Eberspaecher is tripling the size of a Michigan factory that produces parts for heavy-duty trucks as it looks to expand business with medium-duty truckmakers and North American light-vehicle makers.
Eberspaecher North America on Tuesday opened the newly expanded plant in Brighton, Mich., which produces exhaust systems for commercial vehicles and employs 400 people.
The expansion, which increased the factory and administrative operations from 110,000 to 340,000 square feet, will allow the company to increase capacity while consolidating manufacturing, sales, supply chain and other departments under one roof, said Greg Sibley, president of Eberspaecher North America.
The expansion allows the company to produce more exhaust systems for customers including Daimler and Volvo that meet increasingly stringent environmental standards.
“Our customers are desiring lighter and more efficient products,” Sibley said.
Eberspaecher, like other suppliers, is adapting to stricter emissions regulations from the U.S. EPA and other regulators.
Eberspaecher hopes the additional production capacity will allow it to expand business. While it controls about 50 percent of the Class 8 commercial-vehicle market, Sibley said the supplier is targeting growth with two customers in the medium- and heavy-duty truck segments.
“We feel we have opportunities to expand into the medium-duty market [by] leveraging our technical expertise,” Sibley said.
He said the company also is looking to expand its light-vehicle business in North America, and the Brighton expansion will help with that. Sibley said the expansion allows Eberspaecher to move some heavy-duty production away from its nearby Wixom, Mich., plant.
“It gives us the opportunity to clear up floor space to focus on light-vehicle launches in Wixom,” Sibley said.
That’s important for the company because it has 11 new product launches coming over the next 18 months for North American light-vehicle manufacturers such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford Motor Co., for which it will build parts for the Ford Escape, among other models.
“We’re well-established with the German [automakers], but we’re looking to grow … with some of the more established customers here in North America,” Sibley said.
The Brighton plant, which opened in 2003, produces about 600 units per day for about 150,000 vehicles each year, according to Eberspaecher. The expansion, which began in 2014, was supported with a $4.5 million grant from the State of Michigan and incentives from the City of Brighton, Automotive News previously reported.
Eberspaecher Gruppe ranks 49th on Automotive News’ list of the top 100 global suppliers, with automotive parts sales of $4.73 billion in its 2015 fiscal year.