Centuries Old German Manufacturer Kirchhoff Looks Ahead with $20M Garland Expansion

From needles in 1785 in Germany to auto parts in 2018 at its Garland facility, Kirchhoff shows that innovation and adaptation can help a company stick around.

Dallas Innovates composite [Source photo: Kirchhoff]

Innovating and adapting to the times is critical to a company surviving and growing, and the family-owned Germany-based Kirchhoff Automotive has been doing just that since it was founded in 1785 as a needle maker.

Fast forward to 2018, and Kirchhoff — which clearly didn’t pin its future solely on needles — is part of a global manufacturing juggernaut that is investing $20 million to expand its Garland automotive parts plant to 115,000 square feet from 94,000 square feet. The expanded plant at 3901 West Miller Road should be up and running by 2020 and supplying parts for Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac SUVs — lightweight products that are aimed for the vehicles of today and the future.

The city of Garland approved the expansion in September.

“The local community college is able to help us to retrain our employees and the local support we are able to receive is a key to our continued success.”
Marco Garza

The company looked at different facilities in the area for the expansion project, but said that it made the most sense to stay and expand in Garland. “The local community college is able to help us to retrain our employees, and the local support we are able to receive is a key to our continued success,” Marco Garza, Plant Manager at Kirchhoff Automotive, said in a statement. 

The company will retain all of the roughly 200 workers at the plant as part of the expansion.

Kirchhoff Automotive, which has 30 production plants in more than 11 countries, is a part of the Kirchhoff Group, which in addition to the automotive business includes Ecotec, Mobility, and White Tools business units.

At the Garland plant, Kirchhoff manufacturers such parts as grill opening reinforcements, radiator supports, and C-pillar parts from stampings supplied by other Kirchhoff plants.

Kirchhoff’s position in the automotive pillar segment was examined in a new report published by Market Research Engine. The report looks at comprehensive company profiles of major players in the industry and industry growth from 2018 to 2024.

Kirchhoff adapts to the times, market demands

The location of the plant also is not far from the General Motors Arlington Assembly Plant where GM manufacturers full-size SUVs.

Kirchhoff celebrated its 225th anniversary in 2010, and it’s adapted over time to enter new industries.

As the needle business wound down more than 100 years ago, Kirchhoff transitioned into sheet steel parts for the wagon and locomotive industries, and then later for the mining and automotive industries.

Then in the 1970s, the company went all-in for the auto industry, a segment that has become more high-tech over time.

“Their latest operations model will be much more automated and highly robotic, thus keeping pace with the latest trends in global manufacturing technology,” Gwin said.

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