1857 – From local company to global partner to the automotive industry
At home all over the world, rooted in the regions. Heiligenhaus has been Kiekert’s headquarters for 160 years. The story of the technology group began just 10 km away from the current plant – with four employees and a set of bellows. In 1857, Arnold Kiekert didn’t need anything more than that on his farm “Am Kämpchen” to make fittings for furniture doors. Most of what he made there was produced for the surrounding villages. And because Arnold Kiekert was supported by his three sons, the name of his workshop was an obvious choice – "Arnold Kiekert und Söhne" (Arnold Kiekert and Sons).
Although Kiekert is no longer a family business, the ongoing commitment to Heiligenhaus brings continuity. There are families living here who have been with Kiekert for four generations. Kiekert has grown big and successful with them. Nowadays, the Kiekert facility is home to the technology leader’s Production and Development Center, from which the company’s activities worldwide are coordinated.
Besides its local commitments, Kiekert obviously also has a global presence and is in demand as an international supplier. The first step across national borders took place in 1993, when we opened our facility in Prelouc, the Czech Republic, our first production center outside Germany. Today, the factory is by far the largest production plant for latches worldwide. Around 2,000 employees work in production and development at this plant, which has undergone multiple modernization programs over the years.
But if you want to be close to the car markets, you also have to have a presence in the Americas – and Kiekert even has two. We founded our Research and Development Center in Wixom, Michigan, USA in 1994. And, since 1995, the production plant in Puebla, Mexico has been an important partner to the automotive industry throughout the NAFTA region. With a total of around 1,500 employees, these two plants are closely networked to develop innovative products and bring them to production.
We are also continuously developing ourselves in the Asian market, with five Production and Development Centers in China, Japan and Korea. Kiekert’s workforce in Asia numbers around 1,200, manufacturing products like the beta-latch, our bestseller in Asia. Successful products like these have made us one of the market leaders in Asia – one of the many positive outcomes since market-listed Chinese automotive supplier HeBei LingYun Industrial Group Corporation Ltd. acquired the majority shareholding in 2012.