On Tuesday, March 14, 2023, the DRÄXLMAIER Group celebrated a double milestone in Tunisia: the premium automotive supplier laid the symbolic first stone for a new research and development and information technology center, “Sousse Hub “, located in Sousse, which will also serve as DRÄXLMAIER‘s headquarters in Africa. The Group also celebrated the opening of a new production plant in Jemmal in the Monastir governorate.
Many distinguished guests attended these two festive events, including the Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Neila Nouira Gongi, the Governor of Sousse Nabil Ferjani, the Governor of Monastir Mondher Ben Sik Ali, His Excellency the German Ambassador to Tunisia Peter Prügel, as well as representatives of local authorities.
Historic Presence: the first site outside of Germany was in Tunisia
It was in 1974 that the DRÄXLMAIER group established its first international site in Tunisia. Since then, the premium automotive supplier has been active in the country – exclusively in production. In this field, DRÄXLMAIER has continued to expand its presence over the decades. As a family-owned business, DRÄXLMAIER focuses on people. That’s why we have always invested heavily in training and continuing education – with great success. “For many years, Tunisia has been an important pillar of the global production network,” emphasized President Fritz Dräxlmaier.
Central site for development, research and information technology
The Sousse Hub is a new innovative project by DRÄXLMAIER in Tunisia. Stefan Brandl, Vice President and CEO of DRÄXLMAIER Tunisia, described this project as a milestone in the history of DRÄXLMAIER Tunisia during his speech at the ceremony. The Sousse Hub, which will be created here, will play a key role within the DRÄXLMAIER group as a central site for development, research, and information technology. In the Sousse Hub, more than 1000 professionals in the fields of IT, research, software development, and engineering will provide important impulses for DRÄXLMAIER’s global sites starting in 2025. The excellent qualifications of the people in the region were an essential reason for the choice of location. In addition, DRÄXLMAIER has been successfully cooperating with the University of Sousse for years. Already today, the DRÄXLMAIER group operates four centers of excellence in Tunisia focusing on IT, design, software engineering, and technical product management.
Sustainable building, inspiring space concept
For the construction of the new building, DRÄXLMAIER relied on a sustainable concept. The Sousse-Hub has a highly insulated thermal building envelope with minimization of thermal bridges, automatic exterior sun protection, rainwater harvesting for irrigation of green spaces, water-saving landscaping, as well as the first photovoltaic facade in Tunisia with integrated glass-glass modules. Electric vehicle charging stations will also be installed on site.
The DRÄXLMAIER Group also relies on innovation in building design: in order to stimulate employee creativity, it implements an inspiring space concept in the fully accessible building with meeting and withdrawal rooms, exhibition rooms, as well as an inner courtyard with various relaxation areas.
New electric harness production plant with 3,000 jobs
On the same day, the Group officially inaugurated its newest of five production plants in Jemmal. Production of wiring systems for a high-end German automaker has been accelerated since the beginning of this year, but DRÄXLMAIER had already started qualifying the first employees for a temporary plant when construction began in the fall of 2020. The new plant offers 3000 jobs. Just like in Sousse, DRÄXLMAIER also uses a sustainable building concept in Jemmal with a photovoltaic system on the roof and a rainwater recovery tank.
Together for the success of DRÄXLMAIER
Steffen Jürgens, Country Manager of Tunisia and Head of Operations in Tunisia, praised the dedication and creativity of the employees in his speech. He also thanked the management for the trust associated with the two investments. “Together, we will continue to do our best for the success of the DRÄXLMAIER group and the success of our customers.”
Symbolic launch of the Sousse Hub with (from left to right) Steffen Jürgens, Country Manager and Head of Operations of Tunisia, Hichem Elloumi, Vice President of UTICA, the Tunisian Union of Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts, Fritz Dräxlmaier, Chairman of the DRÄXLMAIER Group, and the Tunisian Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, Neila Nouira Gongi.
Celebrating the opening of the Jemmal plant (from left to right): Mondher Ben Sik Ali, Governor of Monastir, CEO Jan Reblin, Chairman Fritz Dräxlmaier, Tunisian Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Neila Nouira Gongi, Steffen Jürgens, Country Manager and Head of Operations of Tunisia, Vice President and CEO Stefan Brandl, and Seifallah Rached, Site Manager at Jemmal.
Founded in 1958, the DRÄXLMAIER Group is a global leader in the automotive supplier industry, specializing in electrical and electronic components, battery systems, and exclusive interiors for premium cars. The group has over 65 sites in more than 20 countries and employs over 72,000 people worldwide.
In 1974, DRÄXLMAIER chose Tunisia to establish its first production site outside of Germany in Sousse. From a small electrical component assembly workshop with a small team of 10 workers, its presence in Tunisia has evolved over the past 50 years to reach 10,000 employees, a number that places DRÄXLMAIER among the largest employers in Tunisia.
Today, DRÄXLMAIER Tunisia has five production sites, including four dedicated to cable harness production and one specialized in interior products, respectively located in Sousse, Mahdia, Monastir, and Siliana.
DRÄXLMAIER Tunisia is continuing its growth in Tunisia and creating jobs for highly skilled engineers through its four centers of excellence, where they develop wiring and embedded electrical systems, offer IT solutions, and support DRÄXLMAIER group customer projects worldwide.