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Kolbenschmidt Pierburg Posts Strong Sales in North America.

DETROIT, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Kolbenschmidt Pierburg, a major tier-one automotive supplier based in Germany, recorded steady sales for its North American operating divisions in 2004 and has been awarded major contracts that will substantially improve sales over the next four years.

The company's current annual North American sales of more than $300 million are a significant part of the company's global sales total of $2.4 billion. North American sales are projected to rise to $500 million by 2008, an increase of more than 50 percent.

Kolbenschmidt Pierburg has four automotive groups in the U.S., including Karl Schmidt Unisia, Inc.; Pierburg, Inc.; KS Bearings, Inc., and KS Aluminum Technology.

"We're very gratified with the growth we have already recorded in the North American market over the last nine years," noted Dr. Gerd Kleinert, chairman of the Kolbenschmidt Pierburg management board, "and we will continue our investment here to support our growing list of North American customers."

The Pierburg, Inc., unit manufactures water and oil pumps, electric throttle controls, secondary air pumps and exhaust-control valves. Based in Fountain Inn, S.C., the Pierburg, Inc. group projects the steepest growth of the three companies in the U.S.

"We have expanded our resources to fuel and support our North American growth, and it has paid off," said Andy Knackstedt, president of the Pierburg, Inc. "We have booked more than $50 million of new business this year. That's the highest rate of new business booked since the foundation of Pierburg, Inc. in the U.S. in 1996."

Though already a market leader for secondary air pumps in North America and Europe, the company attributes much of its growth to a significant sales jump in air pumps and other emissions products like electric exhaust-gas- recirculation valves and exhaust-control valves.

We're particularly proud of a new exhaust-control valve that we developed for a high-performance U.S. sports car," said Knackstedt. "It enhances noise pass-by, resonance, attenuation and performance, and also has great potential to improve fuel economy and emissions. The new valve also is generating a lot of interest with Pierburg customers in the U.S. and Europe for cylinder- deactivation technologies."

As a longtime piston supplier to the North American market, the Karl Schmidt Unisia (KUS) unit of Kolbenschmidt Pierburg based in Marinette, Wis., delivered 27 million pistons in 2004, up 11 percent from 24.3 million in 2003.

"KUS has completed a four-year restructuring program that has been so successful," noted Frank Pohlmann, president of Karl Schmidt Unisia, "that our Fort Wayne piston plant will be the most productive piston plant that Kolbenschmidt has throughout the world. The division has invested nearly $40 million in capital improvements since 2002 at facilities in Marinette, Wis., Leamington, Canada, and Fort Wayne, Ind.

"Our state-of-the-art engineering and test facility in Fort Wayne already has paid dividends, allowing us to offer complete development and test capabilities to our North American customers," Pohlmann added. Fort Wayne, for example, took the lead in the development of a new generation of pistons for heavy-duty diesel engine applications.

The company's KS Bearings group produces engine bearings for automotive and heavy-duty applications and also is headquartered in Fountain Inn, S.C. The unit is targeting more automotive applications in North America and expanding its product offerings in engine bearings and metallic transmission bushings and washers.

"We're also very encouraged by the interest in our Permaglide(R) product," said David Mosier, president of KS Bearings. Permaglide(R) contains a DuPont Teflon(R)-like coating that reduces friction.

"Permaglide(R) is finding its way into areas that previously were unsuitable -- for example, inside an internal combustion engine," Mosier noted. "We're currently using Permaglide(R) on the rocker arms and camshaft of a high-performance V-8 for a major manufacturer. By removing parasitic friction losses, it improves the overall efficiency of the engine."

The company also has recorded strong customer interest in its Permaglide(R) door hinges and shock absorbers, Mosier reported. "We have the manufacturing capability to meet our customers' needs for multiple shapes and sizes and any geometry."

A leading supplier of pistons, automotive oil and water pumps, electric throttle control, bearings, secondary air systems and electric exhaust-gas recirculation valves, Kolbenschmidt Pierburg's four North American units have production facilities in Fountain Inn, S.C.; Greensburg, Ind.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Marinette, Wis., and Leamington, Ontario, in addition to its North American sales offices in Southfield.

Kolbenschmidt Pierburg AG is a subsidiary of Rheinmetall AG. The company has approximately 11,400 employees at its five automotive divisions. Global sales for its Aluminum Technology, Pierburg, KS Pistons, KS Plain Bearings and Motor Service divisions totaled nearly $2.4 billion in 2004. Additional information is available on the Internet at http://www.usa.kolbenschmidt-pierburg.com/ .

CONTACT: Company Contact - North America: Paul Klapproth, +1-248-327-9034, E-Mail: paul.klapproth@pierburginc.com , Company Contact - Worldwide: Folke Heyer, +011.49.2131.520.3011, E-Mail: Folke.Heyer@kolbenschmidt-pierburg.com , both of Kolbenschmidt Pierburg ; or Media Contact: Chip Drake of AutoCom Associates, +1-248-647-8621, E-Mail: cdrake@usautocom.com , for Kolbenschmidt Pierburg

Web site: http://www.usa.kolbenschmidt-pierburg.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Apr 13, 2005
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