|By PR Newswire||
|March 28, 2014 02:00 PM EDT||
FLETCHER, N.C., March 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- International automotive supplier Continental today celebrated the 88,000 square-foot expansion of its Henderson County manufacturing facility located in Fletcher, North Carolina. The $35 million investment added production and warehouse space, new manufacturing infrastructure as well as new equipment for machining and assembly, and will create approximately 40 new jobs in the state.
Continental held a special ceremony to celebrate the opening of its newly constructed expansion area. The event was attended by government officials – including North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows, N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker, State Senator Tom Apodaca, State Representative Chuck McGrady, and Representatives from the Henderson County Board of Commissioners and the Town of Fletcher Council – local dignitaries and employees.
"Continental's expansion is more evidence of North Carolina's improving economy and talented workforce," said Governor McCrory. "Continental has been a great partner in our state and we look forward to their future growth and prosperity. We will continue to pursue policies that improve North Carolina's business climate and make it easier for companies like Continental to expand and create jobs."
The driving force behind this investment is the increasing demand in Electric Parking Brake (EPB) production. The EPB differs from the traditional parking brake in that it is not operated by a mechanical handbrake or footbrake lever. It is activated either by the driver pressing a button or automatically by means of special add-on functions. The EPB offers greater convenience and safety for drivers and additional interior design opportunities for vehicle manufacturers.
"Thanks to the growing demand for brake calipers and the overall economic turnaround in North America, we have nearly tripled our regional production at the Henderson facility over the past three years," said Samir Salman, Chief Executive Officer for Continental North America. "This investment demonstrates Continental's commitment to deliver quality products to our customers and to the future growth of the automotive industry."
The story of growth and investment in Continental's Henderson plant is part of a larger, worldwide trend of increasing demand for EPB production. Electric parking brakes are gaining significant ground against traditional braking systems and will be fitted to an increasing range of vehicle models and classes within the next few years.
"As a result of the rapid growth in business, we have experienced a parallel increase in employment opportunities," said Jeff Scott, plant manager of the Henderson facility. "We have hired more than 200 new employees in the last three years."
"It is an exciting time to be a part of this growing industry and we feel that this investment will further strengthen our presence in the state of North Carolina. We are extremely thankful to all of those who have helped contribute to our success."
The Henderson plant is part of Continental's Hydraulic Brake Systems Business Unit in North America and has become a strong contributor in the company's strategy to further develop foundation brake and EPB product segments in the region. The plant has been located in Fletcher for more than 16 years and currently employs more than 600.
With sales of around €33.3 billion in 2013, Continental is one of the world's leading automotive suppliers. As a provider of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires, and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently employs around 178,000 people in 49 countries.