Indianapolis-based engineering firm acquires automotive supplier

Indianapolis-based Echo Engineering and Production Supplies Inc. says its recent acquisition of a Michigan-based plastic injection molding company will help Echo keep up with growth opportunities in its automotive segment.

Last month, Echo acquired Monroe, Michigan-based Ammex Plastics, which produces clips, mounts, fittings and other components used primarily in the automotive industry. Financial terms were not disclosed. Ammex had about 50 employees before the acquisition.

Echo designs and engineers components for the automotive, heavy equipment, agriculture and recreational vehicles industry. The company, which had about 100 employees before acquiring Ammex, has its corporate office at 5406 W. 78th St. It also has manufacturing, warehousing and supply chain management operations in Indianapolis, along with stocking facilities in Milpitas, California and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Ammex will continue to do business under its own name, Echo said.

The acquisition will help Echo take advantage of shifts in the auto industry, said Echo CEO Kingdon Offenbacker.

Echo's sales have grown more than 25 percent over the past two years, Offenbacker said, and the company expects to have revenue of more than $50 million in 2018, including Ammex's sales.

Offenbacker said Echo’s growth is related to the technological disruption currently taking place within the automotive industry.

Traditional automakers are trying to find their place in the emerging world of autonomous vehicles while at the same time keeping up with advances in electric and fuel-cell vehicle technology.

And they’re doing so amidst a host of new tech-industry competitors. Google, Apple and Uber, to name a few, are also working on autonomous cars.

“They’ve got a lot on their plates,” Offenbacker said of automakers. “Everybody’s petrified. Who is going to own the mobility space going forward?”

Because the automakers are stretched in many directions, Offenbacker said, they are outsourcing a lot of engineering work that they had traditionally performed in-house. 

This outsourcing means opportunity for firms like Echo, Offenbacker said. “The automotive industry is going through a lot of change. There’s still good opportunity if you’re positioned right.”

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