It all started back in the early 1950's as a one-man operation in the basement of a house. Through various acquisitions and the formation of strategic alliances, the once small, one-man operation emerged to become the largest, independently owned manufacturer of automatic transmission clutches, wet friction material and automatic transmission parts in the world.
The timeline below illustrates Alto's progression through the years - from inception to present day. Despite its humble beginnings, Alto continues to achieve tremendous growth and popularity worldwide.
- In 1953, in the basement of Summit Place, a house located in central New Jersey, Summit Motor Products, Inc was founded by Sandy Landa as a one-man auto parts distribution business.
- In 1962, J&L Stamping, a small stamping company, was acquired. J&L was a manufacturer of flat metal stampings, which included clutch plates. This company was later renamed Alto Products Corp.
- In 1982, the company purchased Plainville Special Tool, Inc. The acquisition of Plainville Special Tool, a metal stamping plant founded in 1952, greatly increased the manufacturing capabilities and diversified the product line into numerous metal stampings.
- In 1985, 1986 and 1987 the company expanded with the addition of distribution centers in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto, respectively.
- In 1993, an assembly plant in Alabama was added to the production facilities. This facility gave Alto a chance to compete in the worldwide market.
- In 1995, the Plainville plant merged with Grodel, a screw machine plant, and renamed Alto Components Corp. This further expanded the manufacturing capabilities.
- In 1997, Alto consolidated the transmission parts main distribution warehouse to a 150,000 square foot (14,000 square meters) expansion in the Alabama facility. The corporate offices were also relocated to the Alabama facility, and in 1998 expanded to integrate all administrative operations. All in service divisions were incorporated into Alto Products Corp., but continued to operate as individual profit centers.
- In 1998, as the worldwide demand for transmission parts increased, Alto strategically set up the Latin American headquarters in Miami, the gateway to South and Central America.
- In 1999, Diamond Cut Technologies was acquired. A new building was constructed on the main campus in Alabama and was converted from an independent Tool and Die Shop to an in house facility dedicated to the building of Alto Tools and Dies.
- In 2000, Alto incorporated in Mexico. The NAFTA agreement, along with a strong automotive market makes the Mexican operations a key ingredient in future growth.
- In 2001 a Technical Center was built to support the growing presence in the Original Equipment Market. The Technical Center houses a state of the art Research and Development Center to do advanced application testing, design, and construct prototype parts. The operation is fully equipped with two SAE #2 Test Machines and a Dynamometer.
- Also, in 2001 the Alto Standard Clutch Division was formed. The new division expanded the product offering into Standard Transmission Clutch Systems and Clutch Kits. This further diversified the product offering into both the Standard and Automatic Transmission applications.
- In 2002, Alto expanded the stamping facility in Connecticut. The square footage of the plant doubled in size. This allowed the expansion of the manufacturing capabilities of Alto’s line of bands.
- Also in 2002, the acquisition of TICUSA was completed. This acquisition expanded the product line by allowing the manufacturing of Gears and Shafts. In addition, Alto added an international manufacturing plant located in Spain to the ever growing list of facilities.
- In 2004, Alto created the "Gear Cell" at the main facility in Alabama. Alto moved the manufacturing of this product line from Spain back to the USA.
- Late in 2004, as the China market began to explode with the turn of the new millennia, Alto opened its first office in China. The small office continued to grow in 2005 with the addition of administrative support and sales personnel.
- In 2005, Alto expanded the Corporate Headquarters in Alabama. The warehouse was moved to a new 100,000 square foot (9,300 square meter) building adjacent to the existing facility. The warehouse was expanded to handle the continuously-growing product line. The manufacturing plant was expanded as well, and "lean manufacturing" was implemented.
- In 2006, Alto continued with worldwide expansion and opened office and/or distribution facilities in Dubai, Brazil, Taiwan, India and Australia.
- In 2009, focusing on a vision of becoming a world class supplier of wet friction Alto decided to augment the development of friction material with a state of the art friction material lab. The lab had the ability to develop, test, and benchmark friction material.
- In 2010, Alto entered the Turbocharger market. The worldwide demand for fuel economy and increased power in smaller engines made this venture a high volume business.
- In 2012, after selling product in China for over 25 years, Alto expanded the existing operations and opened a local warehouse. Alto was then able to sell and market in local currency to focus the products for the Chinese customer base.
- In 2016 Alto opens its office and distribution center in Brazil. The office and distribution center will service the South American Heavy Duty market. Brazil will serve as the gateway to service the Mercosur market.
Today, Alto Products Corp. is a multifaceted international organization. Alto’s facilities cover over 350,000 square feet (32,500 square meters), and provides stable employment to almost 500 people. Alto has formed strategic alliances and/or equity positions with various companies to face future consolidation and globalization of the markets. With two domestic and one international manufacturing plants, three North American Distribution Centers and offices situated throughout the world Alto Products Corp. is ideally situated to have continuous growth and prosperity.
Alto’s future strategy is to make long-term decisions and commitments in order to maintain the dominance as a global supplier and continue company growth for the next 50 years.
One Alto Way
Atmore, Alabama 36502, USA