HistorieSTAGES OF A TURBULENT SUCCESS STORY
When he was just 15 years old, Albert Weber knew what he wanted to be: An entrepreneur. He had no doubt that he did not want to take over his father's farm. Weber, a visionary but mostly a doer, kept his word. And he founded his own company shortly after completing an apprenticeship. A turbulent success story took its course, which led Weber to the top of the global vehicle supplier industry. This is a story with many vital encounters, and exciting, splendid moments, and a story which his sons Christian and Daniel Weber will now continue to write. Here are the most important Weber Automotive milestones:
Albert Weber takes over Kyburz KG, where he was once a trainee. At just 26 years old, he is now the head of a company with a total of 45 employees. Within half a year, Weber takes the company out of the red; in the first seven years under Weber's leadership, the company triples its production volume. Now, orders are also being received from machine builders such as Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, large suppliers such as Schaeffler and automakers such as BMW, Porsche, Daimler and others.
Weber takes over Schramme GmbH, a competitor in the immediate vicinity. This acquisition includes production areas and buildings, means of production, customers and, of course, employees. As a result, Weber Automotive employs approximately 100 specialists and continues to expand production capacity.
The company Jung in Neuenbürg is twice as large as Weber Automotive and a fierce competitor. Despite this, the company experiences turbulence in the market. When Jung goes up for sale, Weber buys the company. In part, it does so to expand the product range in the area of drive components. This acquisition also marks the beginning of the international expansion of our company. In 1996, Weber Automotive employs approximately 300 employees at four locations in Germany, Hungary and Charleston, USA. All signs continue to point to growth.
Starting in 1997, a new technology centre is established at the Markdorf location – state-of-the-art industrial architecture with concrete, steel and lots of glass. Development and production areas are housed in the buildings, which have a floor space of approximately 40,000 square metres. In late 1998, the company moves in with its employees and machines.
Daniel Weber takes over management of the Weber Automotive plant in Charleston in the southeastern US. His responsibility: To build and expand the (yet) small location, to find employees and to acquire new customers. The 25-year old lands a large-scale order from GM for the production of 3.2 million crankshafts. And Cummins, the largest global manufacturer of diesel engines for commercial vehicles, places an order with Weber for the machining of engine blocks and cylinder heads.
Over a research period of ten years, Weber subsidiary Fibertech develops the E-LFT procedure, which is now patent-protected. This procedure deals with the industrial production of lightweight components made of fibre composite materials for body structures. In 2006, the company begins series production.
Once again, there is a global economic crisis and many competitors are struggling. In spite of this, Weber Automotive continues to grow. In 2008, Görtz & Schiele declares bankruptcy and relinquishes its US plant in Auburn Hills in northern Detroit. Weber takes over this plant, strengthening the US location.
The plant in Neuenbürg is growing. By 2018, the production floor space will have tripled, and 150 new jobs will have been created. Large-scale orders from Daimler, Porsche and VW make it necessary to further increase capacity, although a new building has just been purchased recently. Weber invests tens of millions of euros in this.