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Schaeffler's Detroit auto show exhibit featured this 'glass car' scale model showcasing 40 of the supplier's technologies. (For more images, click on the small arrow in the upper right corner of this image.)

Schaeffler on a full-tilt hiring blitz

Last year’s double-digit hiring spree continues for 2016 at Schaeffler Group as demand in North America intensifies for the supplier’s engine, transmission, and chassis technologies.

In 2015, the global supplier added 80 engineers and technical specialists to its U.S. and Mexico R&D workforce, and company officials expect to match that hiring number in 2016.

“We want to continue with this above-market growth. And this is why we’re enhancing our local competencies, enlarging our local production facilities, increasing our research and development staff in North America, and launching new technologies,” Klaus Rosenfeld, Chief Executive Officer of the Schaeffler Group, said during a press conference at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Within five years, Rosenfeld expects that the company will double the number of employees in R&D and manufacturing worldwide, and he expects that Schaeffler will invest approximately 500 million euros within that time frame.

The cadence for new products in North America includes electro-mechanical actuation production at the Irapuato, Mexico facility beginning in 2017, with the same location adding thermal management modules starting in 2018. Production of hybrid-electric modules is slated to start in 2019 at the Wooster, OH facility.

Chief Technical Officer for Schaeffler Group USA, Jeff Hemphill, said that mechanical, electrical, and controls engineers are in high-demand. “As we become more involved with hybrid modules and mechatronic technologies in the Americas, we need to hire additional engineers,” Hemphill asserted.

With the North American automotive industry on an upswing, many suppliers and vehicle makers are in a hiring mode. “There is definitely more and more competition for engineers,” Hemphill observed.

More than half of the new hires for Schaeffler North America in 2016 are expected to be recent college graduates.

Similar to the learning opportunities associated with the supplier’s co-op and internship programs, the company’s Group Engineer initiative aims to broaden the knowledge level of young engineers over a two-year period via four rotations, each lasting six months.

The extended length rotations allow an engineer to work and learn the business in different areas of the company. “For example, a young engineer might work in manufacturing, rotate to purchasing, then go to headquarters before returning to the [assignment] location,” Hemphill noted.

Across the globe, Schaeffler currently employs 6200 research and development workers. About 1200 of these specialists are involved in research and development and the production of mechatronics, hybrid technologies, and e-mobility

Schaeffler’s product portfolio includes components and systems for engine, transmission, chassis, and electric mobility applications. Engineering teams are currently in the development stage with four customer projects for hybrid modules and components as well as four customer projects for electric axles, according to Rosenfeld.

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