On November 11 1936, NGK SPARK PLUG Co., Ltd. was founded in Nagoya, Japan with a start-up capital of one million yen. Only a year later, the young company already began delivering its first spark plugs; the cornerstone for future growth.
The company’s initial public offering in 1949 cleared the path for the production of technical ceramics applicable in different areas. In addition, the founders created the brand name NTK. In 1958, the company then began with the development of ceramic cutting tools and inserts – still one of the most important divisions to this day.
In 1967, the company started the development of ceramic modules for electrical devices in telecommunications and information processing. With the area-wide introduction of catalytic converters in the automotive industry, NGK SPARK PLUG also incorporated lambda sensors (so-called oxygen sensors) into its portfolio in 1982.
By building its first spark plug factory outside of Japan in Brazil in 1959, NGK SPARK PLUG took a major step in the direction of becoming a global corporation. In 1966, the company founded a subsidiary in the USA, followed by Malaysia in 1973 and Indonesia in 1977. Further group companies were built in Australia and Canada in the 1980s, followed by the Middle East in 2002 and further far Eastern subsidiaries in the 2000s.
In 1975, NGK SPARK PLUG started operation in Europe by establishing its first European subsidiary in England. Four years later, in 1979, NGK SPARK PLUG Deutschland GmbH began operating in Ratingen. The German subsidiary was renamed NGK SPARK PLUG EUROPE GmbH in 1989 and took over responsibility for the European business.
Since May 2015, Niterra holds all shares relating to Wells Manufacturing, a leading supplier of vehicle electronics components in the automotive business. The U.S.-based company offers more than 37,000 parts – a broad product portfolio of switches, ignition coils and pressure sensors.
In 2020 the company unveiled its 2040 Vision, ‘Beyond ceramics, eXceeding imagination’ and its 2030 Long-Term Management Plan, ‘NITTOKU BX’. Both set out the path for the future success of the company.
Known for producing high-quality components for the automotive industry and specifically, ones related to internal combustion engines (ICE), the company needed to change in order to adapt to the anticipated decline of the ICE. In accordance with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), four business fields – Mobility, Medical, Environment & Energy and Communications – have been identified. To express this new direction, the company also changed its English language name from 'NGK SPARK PLUG' to 'Niterra' at the beginning of April 2023.