REHAU celebrated its 25th year in Cullman with a $50 million expansion announcement Tuesday.
The automotive supplier’s expansion was prompted by a contract win to build exterior polymer-based components for Mercedes-Benz SUV models, including its new line of electric vehicles, the EQ models.
“Twenty-five years ago, REHAU followed Mercedes-Benz AG to the U.S. from the Bavarian town of Rehau to Cullman, Alabama. We were one of their earliest partners in launching their first SUV. Now, we are honored and excited that they have placed their faith in us once again to support the launch of their new models,” said REHAU Automotive Plant Manager Dr. Venki Padmanabhan.
The investment will go towards new production equipment and tooling and a rearrangement of the Cullman facility. It also will create 125 new jobs.
“REHAU has played a vital role in the success of Alabama’s automotive industry for 25 years and it’s great to see the company expand its operation in Cullman,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “This expansion and the 125 new jobs it will create will be vital to Mercedes-Benz’ growth right here in Sweet Home Alabama. This investment shows that the Alabama-Germany Partnership has never been stronger.”
The REHAU plant opened in 1996 with just 30 employees producing bumpers for the 1997 Mercedes SUV made in Tuscaloosa. A second plant producing PEXa pipe for heating and plumbing applications was opened in 2007 and a technical center was added in 2015. The REHAU Cullman operations have expanded numerous times to the current footprint of approximately 1 million square feet and nearly 800 employees.
The project’s capital investment and job creation made it possible for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to provide a $700,000 grant to the city of Cullman toward a $1 million road project to service the REHAU plant. The city and county commission will share equally the remaining $300,000 to resurface and rehabilitate two miles of 24th Street that serves truck and employee traffic for REHAU and other industries in the area. The road work will begin later this year.
REHAU supplies components to the current Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLS models with conventional and plug-in hybrid drives made in Tuscaloosa.