Futuris Automotive, a leading global automotive components supplier, today announced the expansion of its North American business with the opening of a new manufacturing facility and design center in Newark, CA, one of several such facilities planned as part of Futuris’ growth and investment strategy in North America. Futuris’ Newark facility is 160,000 square feet, and includes state-of-the-art, vertically integrated equipment to manufacture automotive seating and interior systems. It will also include a design and craftsmanship studio as well as testing, validation, and quality centers, and is expected to grow quickly to circa 400 employees.
The Newark plant opened for business in August 2014, and is located in close proximity to Tesla’s vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, CA. Futuris is a key supply partner to a range of the world’s top vehicle producers, including Tesla, with contracts for the design and manufacture of full seat systems and headliner modules for both the current Tesla Model S sedan and the future Model X SUV. The Newark facility will initially be equipped to manufacture many of Futuris product offerings, including seat assemblies, welded seat frames, seat foam and headliner moldings.
Peter Carlsson, Vice President, Supply Chain at Tesla said, “Futuris has been a key partner since the first development of the Model S seating system. By bringing a large part of the operation local, we will create a truly vertically integrated seating and interiors manufacturing facility. In combination with the design and development center, we have the infrastructure for a strong partnership with Futuris.”
Futuris was acquired by funds affiliated with Clearlake Capital Group in September 2013. Futuris and Clearlake today also jointly announced that Clearlake Operating Advisor and automotive industry veteran Joseph Gorga has joined the Futuris Board of Directors as a Director. Mr. Gorga joins fellow Clearlake Operating Advisor Merv Dunn, who was appointed Co-Chairman of Futuris when Clearlake completed the acquisition of the company. Mr. Dunn is the former CEO and President of Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc.
Mr. Gorga said, "I am extremely excited to join this world-class company and management team. Given Futuris’ exceptional technical and design capabilities, I believe we are uniquely positioned to serve the growing North America automotive market and partner with the leading vehicle producers.”
Mr. Gorga, 62, most recently served as CEO and President of International Textile Group, Inc. and previously as CEO and President at Burlington Industries, Inc. He has also held senior leadership positions at Safety Components International, Inc., CMI Industries, Inc., and Milliken and Company. Mr. Gorga served as Chairman of the National Textile Association, Vice Chairman of the American Textile Manufacturing Institute, as well as a director on the boards of OCM India Limited, Nano-Tex, LLC, Safety Components International, Inc., and International Textile Group, Inc. He holds a B.S. degree in Textile Engineering from Philadelphia University and an M.S. degree from the Institute of Textile Technology.
“This is an important milestone for Futuris,” said José E. Feliciano, a founding partner at Clearlake and Co-Chairman of the Futuris Board of Directors. “With the successful establishment of a vertically integrated plant in California, we believe Futuris is poised for its next phase of growth in North America.”
“The expansion of our North American business with this showpiece facility, together with the strengthening of our Board, represents a new and exciting chapter for the business and an important milestone in our continued growth,” said Mark De Wit, Managing Director and CEO at Futuris. “With Clearlake’s continued backing, and with the support of industry leaders such as Joe Gorga and Merv Dunn, we are well-positioned to take our products and solutions to new markets and to new vehicle producers.”