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Charter Automotive to Expand European Operations

January 17, 2012

Acquisition of new plant in England will double company's European manufacturing capabilities and strengthen company's position as a global leader

Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Charter Automotive, a division of Charter Manufacturing Company, today announced a major expansion of the company's European operations with the purchase of a 57,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Burntwood, England. Charter Automotive is the global market leader and a Tier 1 supplier of engineered components for the automotive industry.

John Mellowes, chairman and chief executive officer of Charter Automotive's parent company, Charter Manufacturing, said that the expansion of Charter Automotive allows the company to strengthen its position as a leading global supplier of valve spring retainers, valve keys and other components.

"The expansion of our manufacturing capabilities in England will strengthen our position as a global supplier to OEM automotive and powertrain industries and will allow us to better meet the growing needs of Charter Automotive's rapidly expanding European and worldwide customer base," said Mellowes.

Mellowes added that the expansion also brings job growth opportunities in England for workers with experience and skills in the manufacturing of cold-headed parts and will require the company to make major capital investments in new technology and equipment.

Charter Automotive's new facility will be located about 16 kilometers from its current Lichfield, England plant, which was acquired in 2007 with the purchase of Valve Train Components, Ltd. – a respected European supplier of powertrain components.

Pete Murray, vice president and general manager of Charter Automotive, said that the company expects to begin manufacturing at the new plant later this year and will ultimately consolidate all of its European operations into this new facility.

"Our expansion into a new and larger plant in England is a major step in our global manufacturing strategy to support customers throughout the world with a balanced operating footprint in the United States, Europe and China," said Murray.

Murray added, "By delivering superior value to our customers and investing in industry leading applications and product development, we can continue to be a global leader and provide even more value to our customers. Our new expansion and the opportunities it presents reinforce our commitment to customers, particularly our European base."

Mellowes noted that the company's expansion in England comes on the heels of new investments in and growth at Charter Automotive in Milwaukee, including an increase in the number of manufacturing shifts from three to four, the addition of more manufacturing capacity and the creation of additional family-supporting jobs in the community.

The company also operates a warehouse operation in Wuhu, China, about 400 kilometers northwest of Shanghai, China, giving Charter Automotive deep capabilities to meet the demands of the company's international customer base.

"With our major expansion in England, the additional capital investments and job growth in Milwaukee and our strong presence in China, Charter Automotive has increased its worldwide footprint and is in a strong position for continued growth in North America, Europe, Asia and around the globe," said Mellowes.