German auto parts manufacturer chooses Kilgore for new U.S. hub

Jun 20, 2020
James Draper, Kilgore News Herald

Wagner Tuning’s Synergy Park facility eventually will become the node of the company’s American distribution, relocating from its hub in Fresno, California.

Kilgore Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Amanda Nobles outlined the deal during the City Council’s Tuesday night meeting at City Hall, noting a $6.25 million total investment here including $4.37 million in real property improvements and $1.7 million in personal property.

“Wagner Tuning is an after-market performance part manufacturer for the automotive industry for high-performance engines."

“As they are able to train individuals to work for them in the manufacturing process, they will bring in the equipment and begin manufacturing the products here as well as in Germany.”

When distribution and manufacturing are expanded, Nobles added, the company is slated to employ about 30 people, primarily in machining jobs with some engineering positions — the company utilizes robotic equipment in its manufacturing process.

“If you know anything about German manufacturing, the facility in Germany is superb,” she said, “super slick, and I’m excited to have that ethic come to Kilgore, Texas, because it will be a great fit in our community.

“It hits a lot of different targets for us. One is that new construction, another is international — it’s one of our target geographies. It hits our payroll numbers, diversification and visitors coming to this plant.”

Wagner Tuning’s Kilgore facility will have a showroom with at least one high-performance car on display to showcase the company’s products to potential customers.

KEDC’s incentive to the company is land at Synergy Park, and Nobles presented renderings of the 60,000 square-foot speculative building designed for the site.

“It’s worked for us before, and we felt like it would work again, that if one of our existing prospects didn’t go into it, a new one would,” she said. “The tenant worked with the architectural firm to put some finishing touches on it so the building reflected the company’s style.”

KEDC is offering a cash incentive subject to a 10-year economic development performance agreement with Wagner Tuning, totaling $817,000 during the decade.

“The company has signed a 20-year lease for this facility,” Nobles noted, which was funded locally with a bond issue. “The lease will cover the payback of the bonds with the incentive applied to that payback. We will not be giving cash money to this company; it’s actually going to the lease payment itself.”

According to a statement from the CEO at, “Since 2002, we have been developing and producing high-quality engine parts, such as intake manifolds, exhaust manifolds, downpipes and Intercooler kits. Recent technology advancements coupled with years of experience ensure optimum performance and highest manufacturing precision for our customers.”

Construction completion on the building is estimated for Jan. 1, at which time the California distribution facility’s stock will be moved to Kilgore.

“This has been two years in progress,” Nobles said. “We have made two business trips to Germany to tie down details. We actually met this company in California on one of our regional marketing efforts. (A company official) met with four other cities. He came and visited all those East Texas communities, and he chose Kilgore. We’re very proud of that.”

Wagner and Kilgore College President Brenda Kays are discussing the development of an apprenticeship program similar to the norm in Germany, she said.

The company “plans on working with Kilgore College to see that the German style of education and vocational training can replicated here,” Nobles said.

Mayor Ronnie Spradlin praised KEDC for its patient pursuit of another prospect.

“I know you visit with tens of companies before you hook one and reel it in,” he said. “I think this is a really exciting catch for Kilgore, and I know they’ll be happy here.”