Fehrer Automotive has invested more than $6 million to expand its facility in Gadsden, Alabama, by 200,000 square feet and add 15 more jobs.
This expansion gives the company a total of 500,000 square feet — quadruple the company’s footprint when it opened a decade ago — and giving the facility approximately 500 employees, making it the second-largest foam plant in the Fehrer Group worldwide.
“While this expansion will only for now create 15 more jobs, for us more importantly, it frees up space in the original production site to bring more production…into Gadsden and create even more opportunities,” said Matthias Goetz, general manager of the plant.
Founded in 1875, the Fehrer Group is one of the leading specialists for vehicle interior components. The Gadsden plant began with two production lines to supply Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant. Today, the company has five production lines and its customers include Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz Vans in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Commercial Vehicle Group.
The acquisition of the new Mercedes electric SUV, which will be made in Tuscaloosa, and Volkswagen’s electric ID.4, which will be made in Chattanooga, will provide additional opportunities to Fehrer Gadsden.
“The add-on here in our facility in Gadsden fits perfectly in our picture,” said Thomas Mueller, head of Central Operational Services for Fehrer. “We will work hard to fill up the rest of the building with projects.”
Goetz added, “One of my personal goals is to work closely with the city (of Gadsden), the local board of industrial development and schools to make sure that we are ready for expansion and that we have a skilled, trained and well-developed workforce.”
Fehrer makes molded seat pads that takes into account ergonomics, vibration absorption, durability and climate comfort using a polyurethane foam. In addition to the seats, the foam is used for backrest upholstery, armrests, headrests and side bolsters. Fehrer manufactures polyurethane foam using its own formulas, which allows it to determine density, cellular structure, suspension characteristics and cushioning properties.