published Friday, May 31st, 2013

Montara North America adding jobs, considers doubling its plant space in Chattanooga

Shawn Gerkey cuts plastic panels and Deonte Fisher carries them inside as workers assemble reusable containers for the auto parts industry Thursday at the Montara facility near Bonny Oaks Drive and Highway 153.
Shawn Gerkey cuts plastic panels and Deonte Fisher carries them inside as workers assemble reusable containers for the auto parts industry Thursday at the Montara facility near Bonny Oaks Drive and Highway 153.
Photo by John Rawlston.

ABOUT MONTARA

* Services: Packaging and material handling systems

* Founded: 1990

* Headquarters: Siebenlehn, Germany

* CEO: Christoph Dimer

* Locations: Germany, Chattanooga, India

Source: Montara North America

A supplier of packaging systems for Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant is adding more jobs after landing work for another German automaker.

Montara North America is adding a second shift, looking at starting a third and talking about doubling its plant space in Chattanooga, said Matt Shipton, the company's local project manager.

Montara has won a contract for more than $2 million from BMW. Montara will supply packaging for more than 20 car parts manufactured by more than 10 tier one suppliers for BMW in the United States and Canada. BMW has an assembly plant in Greer, S.C., and is launching a new vehicle.

"Companies use our packaging to get products ... to the assembly plants," Shipton said.

In Chattanooga, Montara recently started to add the second shift that will double its work force to about 34 employees, he said.

Shipton said Montara continues to work with VW's Chattanooga plant.

"They're one of our main customers," he said.

Charles Wood, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president for economic development, said it's good to see local automotive suppliers such as Montara doing business with companies in addition to VW.

Wood, who was in Germany on a recruiting trip recently, said he heard Chattanooga called one of the corners of the so-called "German triangle" consisting of the VW factory in Chattanooga, BMW in Greer and Mercedes' production plant in Vance, Ala.

"The jobs are a great thing," he said. "We're excited to hear that happening."

Montara came to Chattanooga in 2010, leasing 9,000 square feet of space off Bonny Oaks Drive with another German-based firm, Paul Mueller Packaging Solutions Corp. That firm, which has two employees in the city, fabricates steel racks for Montara.

In 2010, Montara Chief Executive Officer Christoph Dimer said the company planned to invest about $500,000 in its facilities over three years.

Shipton said Montara recently bought new machines for $50,000 for use in Chattanooga.

The new machinery will increase the capability, capacity and efficiency of the companies. Shipton said the companies are looking at the construction of another 9,000 square feet adjacent to existing site and leasing it.

Wood said he's seeing more interest now in terms of auto suppliers looking at doing business in Chattanooga.

"We do see significantly more activity right now," he said.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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