For 60 years IFA has developed and produced drive shafts for vehicles in Haldensleben. The tradition of the Nathusius family as entrepreneurs and owners in the region, however, dates back than 200 years. Find the major milestones on this path:
Johann Gottlob Nathusius (1760 – 1835) is one of the pioneers of German industry. In the early phase of German industrialization in the beginning of the 19th century he is among the first to recognize the sign of the times and founds the machine building industry in the Magdeburg area. Within only a few years he builds a sprawling conglomerate of about 30 enterprises and about 3.000 employees in Magdeburg and in the Altmark. This includes the first tobacco factories, industrial sugar refineries, producers of tiles and ceramics or the first private porcelain factory in Prussia.
For three generations, the Nathusius conglomerate grows. The region around Magdeburg and Haldensleben changes from an agriculture to an industry-based economy and morphs into a center of German machine building industry. The family tradition is interrupted with the division of Germany and the government takeover of family-owned industries.
The government-owned industrial complex for vehicle manufacture, „IFA-Gelenkwelle“ emerges in 1959 from the merger of three government-owned machine building firms. As a supplier, IFA Gelenkwelle produces drive shafts for agricultural machinery and special purpose vehicles of the GDR, the former East German Democratic Republic.
Within the former common economic zone of the former Eastern bloc countries, the COMECON, IFA quality products garner quickly a reputation for quality and durability. One milestone, for example, is the drive train for the legendary truck L60. In the course of unification of the two German states in 1990, the government-owned IFA-Gelenkwelle is converted into a limited liability company.
Ownership is transferred to the Treuhandanstalt, the largest holding company in world history in its prime, which was tasked with privatizing the former East German government’s assets.
After completion of the political unification of East and West Germany, Heinrich von Nathusius, great-great grandson of Johann Gottlob Nathusius, returns to the family roots, to carry on the tradition of entrepreneurship in Saxony Anhalt. On June 15th, 1992, Heinrich von Nathusius purchases IFA GmbH. With initially 100 remaining staff and an initial invest of 10 Million D-Mark, he starts the conversion into a company which can compete on the world market. Until today, the IFA group is owned by the von Nathusius family.
In the initial years under private ownership, the existing factory halls, the machinery and the administration building are remodeled. The first major orders for drive shafts for all-wheel drive vehicles by VW and Audi are booked.
The Investments in the IFA engineering and quality management centers bear fruit. After four years of restructuring, IFA turns over 24 Million D-Mark and breaks even for the first time. Since the mid 1990s, IFA collaborates with prestigious universities in Germany and abroad in research and development.
IFA is awarded the quality prize „Formel Q“ by VW. Several major orders fuel the rapid growth of the company.
Haldensleben site grows with the addition of a new production hall and the installation of a vocational training center.
50 Million Euro are invested in a new site, Gardelegen, about 30 km away from Haldensleben. In the course of only eight months, new production halls are raised. The subsidiary IFA Antriebstechnik GmbH starts production.
IFA owner and CEO Heinrich von Nathusius receives the award „Investor of the year in Sachsen-Anhalt“.
Another production hall and a new administration office is added to Haldensleben site.
IFA starts a cooperation with the NTN group for the development and manufacture of half shafts.
IFA takes over the propeller shaft maker Rotorion from the Daimler subsidiary Tognum AG. IFA moves production machinery from Friedrichshafen to Haldensleben. A plant in Charleston, South Carolina (USA), is integrated in IFA. From now on, customers in North America are supplied from North America. About 1.300 associates turn over 350 Million Euro per year. IFA changes the company name to IFA Rotorion.
Heinrich von Nathusius receives the Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse (German federal medal of honor 1st class) for his lifetime achievement as entrepreneur and voluntary promoter of the region Haldensleben by Sachsen-Anhalt state governor, Reiner Haseloff.
IFA receives the award „Factory of the year“ by the magazine „Produktion“ in cooperation with AT Kearney and opens a new plant in Shanghai, China with initially 100 staff to position the company for growth in China. With sites in Europe, the USA and Asia, IFA has become a global automotive supplier, a so-called „global player“.
Heinrich von Nathusius received a lifetime achievement award „Macher 25“ by the club of Berlin merchants and industrialists (VBKI) in commemoration of the 25th aniversary of German unification.
IFA takes over a part of the half shaft production from a maker of premium vehicles. Thus, IFA acquires a platform to start the development of half shafts for battery-powered electric vehicles. A part of the deal is the construction of a new plant in Ujazd, Silesia, Poland. The cornerstone is laid in the summer of 2016. Annual turnover of the IFA group grows to 582 Million Euro. The group employs 2.500 associates. The last ruins of Haldensleben site, an echo of government ownership, are razed.
The plant in Ujazd, Poland, is inaugurated. Deliveries commence. The internationalization of the group continues, while employment in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, grows unabated. In Stuttgart, IFA opens a new office to support the Southern German customers. The term Rotorion is deleted from the company name. IFA reverts to the company name IFA.
IFA wins General Motors „Supplier of the Year“ Award. The new plant in Charleston, South Carolina (USA) is opened. In keeping with its Charleston roots, the new plant is only a few miles from the current plant. With a total investment of more than 60 million dollars, the production capacities will be significantly expanded. The transfer of production equipment will occur gradually from the previous location to the new location. Following the relocation, up to 14 total production lines will be installed in the 40,000-square-meter plant.
IFA has been designing, testing and manufacturing drive shafts for the best vehicles in the world at Haldensleben for 60 years.