Chinese carmaker Changan Automobile Company has opened its new UK research and development centre in Nottingham, where it will help to develop the low carbon vehicles.
Changan Automobile Co is one of China’s largest carmakers.
Its turnover has been increasing by around 30% annually and its production and sales between January and April in 2010 ranked second in China.
The company’s production capacity is 2.5 million units per year and the establishment of the facility in Nottingham is designed to enable Changan to collaborate with UK automotive R&D companies and also help UK companies win business with Changan, it says.
Changan will be investing £20m to open and run the Nottingham operation over the next five years.
In addition, the company will also be investing significantly on research and development in Nottingham, as it undertakes projects at the site over the coming years.
Changan’s focus will be on engine and powertrain development and will also involve the development of low carbon vehicles, such as electric cars.
The company will build collaborations with British companies, universities and research institutions to improve Changan’s R&D capabilities.
East Midlands Development Agency (emda), together with its East Midlands China Business Bureau, has been working with Changan since March 2009, to look at the national and regional strengths in automotive R&D, particularly in powertrain, transmissions, chassis and new energy technologies.
Changan Automobile owns nine production sites and 21 vehicle factories in China, with its turnover in 2009 being approximately £6 billion.
The business has ambitions to break into the global top 10 motor manufacturers.
The establishment of the R&D centre in Nottingham is a vital part of this plan.
Xu Liuping, chairman of the board for Changan Automobile, said: “Setting up our own R&D centres overseas, including in the UK, is a vital stepping stone for Changan Automobile to utilise global resources and to enter the league of the world-leading car makers.”
Changan is planning to recruit 40 powertrain and transmission engineers by the end of this year.
The company’s recruitment programme will then be accelerated to grow to a staff of around 200 people in three years.