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At its North American plant in Cullman, Alabama, REHAU Automotive manufactures, among other things, fully assembled bumper systems, rear spoilers, rocker panels and wheel arch liners. Three important production starts are scheduled at the site in the next twelve months. The plant team has now successfully mastered the first and since then has supplied Mercedes with more than 40 different painted components. In this way, the company is securing jobs and laying the foundation for further investments at the site.
"For us, the Mercedes EQS SUV is the first fully electric model in North America for which we are supplying components. The start of production was therefore something special," says plant manager Dieter Wiedmann, underlining the importance for the North American REHAU Automotive manufacturing site. The company supplies a large number of assembled exterior add-on parts in currently eleven colours "just in sequence" to Mercedes in Vance, Alabama, from where the OEM delivers the vehicles all over the world. The model is receiving high media recognition. It is expected that the previously planned volumes of 3,000 vehicles per week will be increased in the near future. Series production of the EQS SUV's bigger brother, the EQE SUV, will then start shortly before Christmas, followed by the luxury EQS SUV Maybach variant in summer 2023.
Two new injection-molding machines, more than 70 injection molds, six production lines and over 400 purchased parts made the ramp-up a challenge. But a 60-strong international team of employees from engineering, quality and local staff from the injection molding, painting and assembly departments worked hand in hand and successfully mastered the start of series production. "During their last visit before, the Mercedes representatives were enthusiastic about the processes and the quality we produce," Wiedmann reports proudly.
However, he and his team still have to overcome one hurdle: The plant is looking for more than 100 new employees, which is challenging in and around Cullman thanks to the high industrial density and an extremely low unemployment rate. At the same time, the company offers attractive conditions: Health insurance from day 1, 401K and various additional insurances can be adjusted according to personal needs. This is not the general standard in the USA. "As an internationally renowned company, we offer attractive conditions and development opportunities not only in Cullman. I am firmly convinced that we will be able to fill the positions quickly and am very proud of the development of our site," emphasizes Dieter Wiedmann.
REHAU Automotive develops, manufactures and supplies high-quality exterior, bumper and polymer functional systems as a reliable partner to international vehicle manufacturers. Every day, 7,000 employees at 25 locations in nine countries share a passion for making polymer solutions for the automotive industry even lighter, safer and more sustainable: Engineering progress. Enhancing lives. The automotive supplier is part of the global REHAU Group, which specializes in polymer-based solutions. With a total of more than 20,000 employees, the Group generates annual sales of over 4 billion euros.