The last of the room air conditioner manufacturing facilities left the United States in 2007. Friedrich Air Conditioning Co., based in San Antonio, moved production of room air conditioners from its San Antonio plant to the company’s facility in Monterrey, Mexico.
“After considerable deliberation and assessment of our business, the decision has been made to cease production in our San Antonio plant,” explained Charles Marino, Friedrich president and CEO. “This extremely difficult decision was made for competitive reasons and to ensure the future of our business. While I understand that this is sad news for our many dedicated manufacturing employees in San Antonio, I am proud that we have continued to manufacture here in the United States long after our competitors have moved production overseas.”
As the last manufacturer producing room air conditioners in the United States, Friedrich felt the move was necessary in order to compete with competitive products that are produced overseas, primarily in China. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, over 9 million room air conditioners were imported into the United States in 2006. When asked why Friedrich selected Monterrey as the site for its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, Marino said that Monterrey offers a unique combination of assets.
“The city of Monterrey was selected because of its skilled, stable work force, strong supplier base, and strategic location near the San Antonio headquarters,” he explained. “In addition, keeping production in North America will allow us to be closer to our customers and to get products to market faster. Ultimately, this will result in better customer service.” Although Friedrich production was moved to Monterrey, the company kept all administrative functions, including engineering, service parts, and warehousing, in San Antonio.