Industry Profile: BorgWarner

October 24, 2011

BorgWarner Inc. is a product leader in highly engineered components and systems for vehicle powertrain applications worldwide. Customers include VW/Audi, Ford, Toyota, Renault/Nissan, General Motors, Hyundai/Kia, Daimler, Chrysler, Fiat, BMW, Honda, John Deere, PSA, and MAN. While the company operates manufacturing and technical facilities in 19 countries worldwide, Western North Carolina continues to play a critical role in the company’s domestic design and manufacturing capabilities. In fact, WNC is home to two separate divisions, each responsible for different product lines. Henderson County is fortunate to serve as the location for the operation’s thermal division. BorgWarner Thermal is a leading supplier of components and systems for thermal management, which are specifically designed to improve engine cooling, increase fuel economy and reduce emissions. The division is located in the Town of Fletcher and encompasses 50 acres and nearly 200,000 square feet of production space adjacent to Wilsonart International and Diamond Brand Manufacturing.

Since 2008, the automotive industry as a whole has witnessed incredible amounts of change. As the nation struggled to rebound from recessionary economic conditions, the automotive industry was dramatically altered. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), like BorgWarner, were impacted by uncertain markets. Changes in the industry forced OEM operations to move quickly to keep ahead of market trends and ongoing federal legislation aimed at new product development and design initiatives. According to Steve Racher, plant manager of the Fletcher division, “the Company’s focus on developing the latest engine technology developments and keeping pace with regulatory mandates is the driving force behind BorgWarner’s ability to retain its leadership role in the automotive industry.” The company’s engineering staff work tirelessly to develop new technologies and products that are tightly aligned to processes adopted by the world’s leading automotive companies.

BorgWarner, and especially the Fletcher facility, represent a critical piece of the company’s global presence. The business’ affinity with the community can be tied to the vast number of resources which can be found locally. According to Racher: “Henderson County possesses a professional and motivated workforce, reasonable tax rates, and excellent access to nearby transportation routes allowing the operation to efficiently ship and receive product from regions across the globe.  Moreover, because BorgWarner places a heavy emphasis on identifying advanced manufacturing practices and professional manufacturing certifications such as ISO 9001, TS/ISO 16949: 2002, ISO 14001, the facility has greatly benefited from the North Carolina Community College System and more specifically Blue Ridge Community College.

To date, BorgWarner continues to play a lead role in the development of technologies and product lines which are specifically designed to meet customer demands for vehicles which possess improved full economy standards and performance specifications. Employees in Fletcher are responsible for designing and assembling some of the most advanced automotive systems in the world. The engineered cooling fans produced in Fletcher are used in a variety of applications for commercial, light, and off-highway vehicles. BorgWarner continues to design more efficient products, utilize fewer moving parts that require less maintenance and weigh less. Combined, the fan systems produced in Fletcher can deliver 1-3% improved fuel economy while simultaneously increasing vehicle performance.  As a result those parts produced locally, in Fletcher, North Carolina, can be found across the globe and in some of the most recognizable automotive brands around the world.