Leica Camera AG opens new plant in Portugal


Leica Camera AG opened a new plant in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal. The new 52,000 m2 facility with a price tag of approximately EUR 23 million (USD 30 million) will employ 720 people. The Leica Portugal division was initially founded in 1973. No details were given as to what products will be manufacturer at the new factory.

Press release (Google translation):

Solms (ots) - Leica Camera AG has today celebrated the official opening of its plant in Portugal. The newly constructed office building of Leica Aparelhos Opticos de Precisão SA is still in Vila Nova de Famalicão near the former site. With a site area of ​​approximately 52,000 m2, the new Leica work on an enlarged by about 30 percent location. Advanced production facilities and modern, highly efficient production methods provide additional ways of increasing capacity. The investment volume for the new building at the site is approximately EUR 23 million. The relocation of all areas in the new production and administration building is almost complete.

Opening welcomed Dr. Carlos Mira and Pedro Oliveira, CEO of Leica Aparelhos Opticos de Precisão SA, the Portuguese President Aníbal António Cavaco Silva, Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG and Leica CEO Markus Limberger as COO the two production plants in Solms and Famalicão responsible.

"We are proud that the company Leica so has great confidence in the competence of the Portuguese people, "Portuguese president Aníbal António Cavaco Silva said in his opening speech.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann began by thanking all those involved in construction and then emphasized the long tradition that combines Leica with the location of Vila Nova de Famalicão. "Many families in the region have found over generations a professional home at Leica With its precision mechanical know-how our Portuguese colleagues have contributed significantly to the success story of Leica Camera. Construction of the new plant near the old site is a visible sign that Leica has also found a home here and is involved in the future for the people of this region. "

Even Leica CEO Markus Limberger emphasized in view of four decades of cooperation, the close ties of the works in Solms and Vila Nova de Famalicão and the importance of investing in the location for the future: "The new, ultra-modern plant is next to our main factory in Solms from 2014 in Wetzlar play a crucial and equal role for the company's success in the coming decades and the region will bring economic stability and continuity in the long term. "

The Leica Aparelhos Opticos Precisão de Portugal SA was founded in 1973. For the production of Leica products has modern factory with its qualified employees in the same strategic importance for the company Leica as the manufacturing facility in Solms. While maintaining uncompromising high quality standards and careful manufacturing arise there alongside various Leica sports optics products including the Compact Binoculars and parts and assemblies for the current Leica lenses and system cameras.

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  • Nasuo

    Picture of the plant?

      • Pablo Ricasso

        Interesting, especially after the fact my colleague’s Leica M9 camera states Made in Germany on the back.
        It maight have been designed or developed in Germany, but now it’s known it sure ain’t made in Germany.
        I don’t care either way, but I could expect some hard-core Leica camera owners boiling inside and fuming 😉

        • That’s wrong. The M9 is assembled in Solms, Germany.

          But some components are made or (pre-)assembled in Portugal.

          • Pablo Ricasso

            No it isn’t. You may think it is but you’re wrong.

            What’s been inadvertently discovered during the last few weeks about Leica camera being actually made outside Germany is just a tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for more ‘news’ and revelations.

          • Pablo Ricasso

            Is that what the Leica told you?
            Their factoy in Solms may be doing a final QC pre-packaging phase, but that’s what it would be. High-end as well as low-end Leica models assembly lines are in Portugal.
            It may be hard to savour for some Leica fans, but that’s what it is. Not that’s anything’s wrong with it, but it sure ain’t Germany.

          • Rui Nelson Carneiro

            They link the shutter to the shutter release button in germany and then BAM! Made In Germany.

      • Zivko R.

        Wow – even an M9 assembled there?

        That’s certainly a news to me…

        • Rui Nelson Carneiro

          Welcome to the Real World.

          When you buy Italian shoes, probably they are Made in Portugal.

          Burberry makes here their clothes.

          So does Lacoste and most other hi-end names.

          Fraunhofer Institute gets much of their investigation from here too.

    • Mig
  • Camaman

    €23 mil for 52.000m2 sounds like a real bargain!

    • ronnie taylor

      It’s Portugal…everything’s a bargain there these days…sadly.

  • St.

    And how many people these days buy Leica, that it’s building factories??
    I think Fuji and Sony grabbed huge parts of Leica customers. Even the biggest fans like Steve Huff already agree RX1 has better IQ and sharpness, similarly with X100S.

    • Ke

      Leica’s profits have been improving in recent years.


    What the f… Low cost production. Very wrong move Leica!

    • WIC… what an ignorant comment… Leica Portugal is manufacturing lens and other components for Leica AG in Famalicão, Portugal since 1973… It is not a move to low cost production… it’s the consolidation of production based on highly skilled workers and highly efficient management.

    • Zoomingod

      And this, is a Leica second plant there. Maybe the first one will be sold, I do not know.

      • Rui Nelson Carneiro

        They are expanding.

    • bombshell

      You think that every Coca~Cola is made in USA? ehehe

    • http://www.oficinadoouro.com/fotos/paf0026.jpg

      Yes, it’s hand made… in Portugal!!!
      That’s because this kind of precision that moves Leica to still invest in portuguese workers… after 40 years making the best cameras in the world.

  • Lou

    Hmmm. Weird move… I thought that one of Leica’s strengths was its brand name and the “made in germany” label. In my eyes this move cheapens their image (no pun intended.)

    I agree with “St.’s” comment, Leica should be afraid of competitors like Sony who – while not having a photography pedigree – are attracting customers by masses (myself included.)

    For years I’ve been a huge fan of Leica. I promised myself years ago that I would buy one of their cameras one day. But the reasons why I wanted one are starting to diminish. I can’t believe I am saying it, but I am actually considering the RX1 over Leica’s M.

    • Zoomingod

      this move cheapens their image at 40 years. Since 1973. Yes, the cameras say Made in Germany.

    • It’s not a move. It’s continuity!

      Leica has been making components and cameras (like the R4 in Portugal for 40years in their own factory. There are highly skilled employees with long years of experience.

      (For some time they had another dependance in Canada, that saved the Leica M after the M5 crisis and made legendary lenses.)

      Strangely it seems some people would prefer it if they would have outsorurced this silently to some unknown chinese subcontractor instead of having full control…

    • ANd maybe even reading the article you comment on might have helped:

      “Dr. Andreas Kaufmann began by thanking all those involved in construction and then emphasized the long tradition that combines Leica with the location of Vila Nova de Famalicão. “Many families in the region have found over generations a professional home at Leica With its precision mechanical know-how our Portuguese colleagues have contributed significantly to the success story of Leica Camera. Construction of the new plant near the old site is a visible sign that Leica has also found a home here and is involved in the future for the people of this region. “”

  • anon

    what’s the connection between Vila Nova de Famalicão and Leica? the press release made it sound like Leica had a presence there for generations.

    what was being made or done there before this new building was built?

    • zoomingod

      Leica as there at 40 year. To much time huh? That’s true.

  • George

    I do not think many of the “compact cameras” (aka point and shoots) were made in Germany, so this may just be a way to better control the production of those lines.

    It will affect the value though, as most made in Canada and made in Japan Leicas’ do not have the collector values associated with the German versions.

    • You are severely misinformed.

    • Who cares for the needs of collectors? Cameras are tools of a trade called photography and not some kind of investment!

      If it wasn’t for Walter Kluck, then head of Leica in Canda, who started producing the M4-2 after the M5 caused Leica Germany to end the production of all M-Products in 1975, there wouldn’t be a Leica M anymore!

      Kluck revolutionized the way M’s were produced and Leica Canada sold 17.000 cameras in only 2 years!

  • CHD

    Ahhh…so this is why people pay 10x what something is worth….because it’s made in Portugal????

    • A. Lurker

      Your remark makes as much sense as if I said you’re just jealous that you don’t have the money to do the same. “What something is worth”? If you knew even a little about economics you’d realize how silly that sounds.

      • MLH

        if Leica were smart they’d open up shops near business schools… both attract the low IQ crowd.

    • DHC

      If you say it means you’re not confused because there’s nothing between the begin and end tags.

  • will.i.am

    all of the modern (including digital) Leica rangefinders and some M-lenses were mostly assembled in Portugal, only the last assemblage step (top plate) and calibration done in Germany. The Leica factory in Portugal used to be a watch manufacture and all the workers are extremely skilled/trained in precision assemblage.

    • Zoomingod

      More than 90% Leica cameras are are made in Portugal. For the record.

      • That is totally wrong.

        • zoomingod

          Is what the news said. On video.

        • Riko

          No it isn’t. He is correct. It’s just that it “hurts” some of die-hard Leica fans who believed their cameras were still being made in Germany.

  • Jeremy

    My Motor-R was built in Portugal, as were my Leica Binoculars. Every bit as good as the gear made in Germany.

  • Klaus

    How many people still have prejudices and mysticism. For everyone to know:
    Olympus European center for repairs is in Portugal. They have know-how, and work and produce to perfection and precision. A country of great inventors. Try and read some history, read contemporary and industrial history of this country. Great and luxury brands are made there, even the great international couturiers. Even at the supermarket I buy products from them.

    • Ken Worrington


  • JakeB

    Interesting. One of the most expensive digital cameras on the market being made in one of the poorest countries in Euro zone.
    Good for profit, but bad for brand panache and loyalty.
    So how many (if any) of Leica models are still being made in ‘expensive’ Leica factory in Germany?

    • Mandrake

      Agree. It’s almost like Canon 5DMKII or Nikon D800 being made in Laos instead in Japan where they’re currently being made.

      Country of maufacture doesn’t always mean an inferior product and QC, but in many cases does, unfortunatelly.
      Nothing against Portugal as a country or production plant at all, it’s just that camera wth Made in Germany on the back plate should IMO be made in Germany, that’s all.

      • It’s amazing and sad the degree of prejudice of some people resulting from bare ignorance about the world outside their own countries. I respect Laos as any other country and people, but comparing Portugal to Laos… Please…

        • Rika Mikkellen

          Take it easy there.

          He wasn’t comparing Portugal to Laos, instead he mentioned the fact that the cameras aren’t being made in the country where they say they are being made.

        • Zivko Radovanovic

          What prejudice you’re talking about Antonio? He was simply stating the facts, I didn’t see or feel any ‘prejudice’ you’re talking about in his post. You should take a sip of cool-aid and relax.

      • Rui Nelson Carneiro

        They did put “Made in Portugal” in the past. But that didn’t bode well for Leica buyers (snobs) and their sales cracked.

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