BIRMINGHAM-based GKN Driveline has nearly tripled the manufacturing capacity of its plant in China in response to the demands of the country’s automotive industry.
GKN Chongqing Driveshaft (GDC), a joint venture between GKN HUAYU Driveline Systems (SDS) and China ChangAn Automobile Group, has added an extra 129,000 sq ft to the plant as part of a £32m ($48m) investment.
The project brings the total size of the Chongqing plant to 258,000 sq ft and will enable it to produce an additional 1.5 million sideshafts a year, bringing overall capacity to 2.1 million sideshafts per annum. GDC currently employs 310 people, with plans in place to grow that to more than 400 by 2017.
Established in 2006, GDC’s main products are CVJ shafts and customers include ChangAn-Ford, ChangAn-Mazda, ChangAn-Suzuki, ChangAn, JAC, Great Wall, BAIC Motor and SGMW.
The expansion, which took a year to complete, also means the localisation of Constant Velocity Joint (CVJ) production for a number of car manufacturers in Chongqing, with SDS moving CVJ production from Shanghai to Chongqing for ChangAn Ford following the completion of the project.
Andrew Reynolds Smith, GKN Driveline Chief Executive Officer said: “Chongqing is the automotive manufacturing centre for South West and Mid-China and we are expanding along with our customer base. Our rapidly increasing China footprint allows us to better serve our customers, creating more efficiency in supply chains with localised supply and continued high levels of service.”
Andrew Moss, President of GKN China, added: “The rapid development of GDC benefits from the support of the local government and customers, as well as all the hard work of our employees. GDC aims to provide a comprehensive range of services, including research and development, production and technology support to OEM customers in the middle and west areas of China.”
The expansion was officially launched with a ceremony attended by Andrew Moss and representatives from GDC, SDS, car manufacturers, the UK Chongqing consulate and the Chongqing North New District Administration Committee.
GKN Driveline has been operating in China for 27 years via its SDS joint venture and employs over 3,600 people across nine sites. Automotive production has increased by 404% in China over the past 10 years and production is forecast to grow to from 22.6 million vehicles this year to 31.4 million by 2021.