Valeo is expanding its electronics research capabilities in China in a bid to strengthen its position in high-growth developing markets.
The French automotive supplier has opened a new global electronics expertise center in its plant in Shenzhen. It is also adding a windshield wiper systems production plant in Wengling.
The new electronics center will employ more than 100 engineers by year end, a total that will double by 2015. The center will focus on electronic hardware development for all parts of Valeo. The company said it will play a "major" role in the development of electric-vehicle components.
"The opening of the new Electronics Expertise Center and the new wiper systems plant are a further demonstration of Valeo’s strategy to accelerate its development in fast growing markets, in particular in China where the Group aims to double its sales by 2015,” said Jacques Aschenbroich, Valeo CEO. The company expects its sales in Asia - including China - to grow to 30 pc of group sales by 2015 from 19 pc in 2010.
Aschenbroich added in a press release that Valeo plans to double the number of engineers its has in China to 3,000 in the next five years from 1,300 at present.
The Shenzhen center will provide electronics engineering services, CAD layout engineering and supplier quality support for all Valeo product lines. It is equipped withhardware test benches, thermal chambers and EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) test equipment.
Valeo’s Shenzhen production plant, where the electronics expertise center is located, has just been extended by 5,000 sq.m. The expansion accommodates a higher output of top column modules, switches and control panels, and ultrasonic systems.
The new Wenling wiper systems plant replaces a previous facility opened in 1994. The new plant employs 800 staff and produces wiper and washer systems for customers in China and worldwide. Valeo is one of the world's biggest makers of wiper systems
Valeo's Chinese operations build powertrain and thermal systems, as well as comfort and driving assistance products and visibility systems. In 2010, the company employed nearly 8,000 people in China in 15 production sites, 3 r&d centers, 8 engineering centers and an aftermarket distribution center.