By Harald Hamprecht, Automotive News Schwalbach, Germany-Plastics and adhesives supplier Dow Automotive is to build its first German plant in Schkopau in eastern Germany. The city, between Halle and Leipzig, is a centre of chemical production.
"The location is well-suited to meet the growing demand for our products in western Europe," said Grant Fisher, Dow's vice president of sales for Europe. Dow Automotive's parent, Dow Chemical Co., has a major plant in the eastern German city.
Starting in 2008, the Schkopau plant will manufacture adhesives, glass-bonding products, and insulation systems. Plans calls for the creation of about 100 jobs, but Dow would not disclose its investment.
"We are transferring products to this factory that have been manufactured at one or another of our European locations until now," Fisher said. The company operates eight manufacturing plants in six countries, but an engineering centre in Schwalbach has been its only German site.
Dow Automotive also has manufacturing joint ventures in China, Brazil, France, Romania, India and Australia.
Dow Automotive, of Auburn Hills, Michigan, ranks No. 87 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $1494 million in 2005. It supplies plastics, adhesives, insulating material, plastics reinforcing products and body systems to the auto industry.
Dow Automotive aims to stand out from its principal rivals-GE Plastics, Bayer and BASF-by gaining a reputation for developing what it calls innovative solutions to automakers' problems. As an example, the company is working on a self-colouring plastic for vehicle bodies that would replace many painted metal parts, Fisher said.
Company sources say Dow has developed a prototype application of the plastic for the French microcar manufacturer Ligier."