IMS Gear Shifts into Exponential Growth in Virginia Beach

Monday, September 29, 2014

IMS Gear, a 151-year-old company headquartered in Donaueschingen in the Black Forest region of Germany, will officially dedicate its new 112,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Virginia Beach on Oct. 3.

Founded in 1863 to manufacture precision instruments for the clock and watch industry, IMS Gear was founded by Johan Morat, and now 150 years later a Morat family member still sits on the company’s board of directors. IMS Gear’s core competence continues after it shifted its manufacturing excellence to innovative gear solutions, which gained considerable commercial significance 50 years ago.

In 1992, company leaders were determined to grow the business and made a strategic decision to follow its customers and expand worldwide. IMS Gear Virginia, Inc. opened in Virginia Beach in 2000. It was the company’s second location in the United States after Gainesville, Ga.

Today, the company has 10 manufacturing facilities around the world including six in Germany and one each in Mexico and China. Success has followed the company, and it now manufactures gears for every major automobile company in the world.

IMS Gear Virginia manufactures gears for power seats. “We have earned 65 percent of the U.S. automotive gear market,” said Guenter Weissenseel, president of IMS Gear Virginia, Inc. “Our business has multiplied five times in the last five years in Virginia Beach in both production numbers and revenue. We started producing more than one million gears per month last fall and have created more than 150 new jobs to support this growth.”

The new 112,000-square-foot facility at 489 Progress Lane is nearly three times the size of the company’s original Virginia Beach facility, which was developed by The Miller Group to the specific design requirements of the company.

“We looked at several different locations for this expansion before deciding to stay in Virginia Beach,” said Weissenseel. “Community is important to us as well as the ability to find and keep skilled workers. We ultimately decided that staying in Virginia Beach is our best option, and we worked with the City’s Economic Development Department to find the ideal location for us.”

“IMS Gear is a perfect example of how global manufacturers are finding success in the U.S.,” said Warren D. Harris, director of Virginia Beach Economic Development. “It started with strategically locating to an area offering a quality workforce and a logistics network that effectively connects them to their customers. By then understanding how new technologies can improve their processes, IMS Gear created a successful business model that provides cost-effective products meeting the stringent quality demands of the marketplace.”

Maximilian Zimber-Morat, great-grandson of the company founder and majority shareholder, will visit the Virginia Beach facility for the dedication. The event will feature tours of the new facility, refreshments and German beer.

For more information and a complete description of products and facilities, visit

The mission of the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development is to attract and retain national and international businesses to stimulate capital investment and create jobs. Virginia Beach is the most populous city in Virginia with a population of 440,000, and it is the 37th largest in the United States. It is recognized as one of the Best Run Cities in America by 24/7 Wall St. The Department of Economic Development received re-accreditation through the International Economic Development Council in 2012 and is one of only 29 economic development organizations in the world to have this recognition. It is listed among the Top Five Overall Mid-sized American Cities of the Future, Top 10 for Economic Potential and Top Five for Infrastructure by fDi Magazine. ranked Virginia Beach as the Easiest Place to Start a Business and the 2nd Most Business-Friendly City in the country. For more information, visit

Virginia Beach has also been recognized as one of America’s manufacturing boom towns by Forbes.

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