Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, left, Steffen May, CFO of Kauth; Essex County Warden Tom Bain and WEEDC CEO Stephen MacKenzie outside the Kauth North America building near Windsor Airport, October 4, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

German manufacturer to bring 350 jobs to Windsor

A German manufacturer is bringing a significant job-producer to Windsor-Essex.

The Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation officially announced Thursday that Kauth, which creates auto components, will build its North American headquarters in Windsor, with a full-fledged factory operation to be in place by 2020. Its new facility will open on Wheelton Drive near Windsor Airport.

Representatives from Kauth were on hand for an official unveiling, along with Mayor Drew Dilkens, some members of city council, Essex County Warden Tom Bain, and others.

Windsor was in competition with other Ontario cities for the headquarters, along with some American locations. Steffen May, the chief financial officer of Kauth, said they had a strong dialogue with Windsor from the very beginning.

“We had a lot of meetings together and they had the best package for us,” said May. “Windsor is a very interesting city, it’s nearby to the U.S. We get the skilled workers. This is something very important for our technology.”

The company says it will eventually employ up to 350 workers. So far, the operation consists of a warehouse that was completely redone over the past three months. May said the company hopes to begin hiring people locally and start the process of building the factory, which will adjoin the warehouse. Construction on that is expected to begin sometime next year.

Dilkens said the announcement is another step toward developing the area surrounding Windsor Airport.

“For me, it fulfills part of the vision we’ve set for the airport,” said Dilkens. “You can see what’s happened with FedEx, you can see what’s happened with the IBLS (Institute for Border Logistics and Security), this building up until now had been vacant. We wanted to make this logistics and cargo, so now we’ve got distribution and warehousing and we’re going to add manufacturing on.”

Kauth counts Chevrolet, BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi, and Magna among its clients. It was founded in 1928 in Denkingen, Germany and is a family-owned business.  It has six manufacturing facilities around the world with more than 900 employees.  The company specializes in stamping and forming, and developing parts.

The Windsor facility will be Kauth’s first foray into North America.

-With files from Adelle Loiselle