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Chinese carmaker establishes UK research centre

One of China's largest carmakers is to create up to 200 jobs in Nottingham.


Changan Automobile Co is to establish its UK research and development centre at the city's science park, according to the Nottingham Post.

The first 30 jobs will be created this year, rising to 200 by 2013.

The successful investment follows a meeting in China between Dr Bryan Jackson, former head of Toyota UK at Burnaston who is now chairman of East Midlands Development Agency, and officials of Changan Automobile Co in 2007.

Changan is one of China's largest carmakers and its sales have been increasing by around 30% a year.

It has a production capacity of 2.5 million vehicles a year. Production and sales between January and April in 2010 ranked it second in China.

The base in Nottingham will enable Changan to collaborate with UK automotive R&D companies and will also help UK companies win business with Changan.

Changan has nine production bases and 21 whole vehicle factories in China and has a turnover of about £6 billion.

The business has ambitions to break into the world's top 10 motor manufacturers.

An R&D centre in Nottingham represents a vital part of the plan.

Changan chairman Mr Xu Liuping said: "Setting up our own R&D centres overseas, including the UK, is a vital stepping stone for us to utilise global resources and to enter the league of the world-leading car makers."

Dr Jackson said: "Changan Automobile has chosen to locate here because of the research expertise of our universities, the reputation of the world class automotive engineering firms based in the region and the quality workforce.

"Changan will be creating over 200 research jobs and opportunities for UK automotive companies to do business with Changan, further establishing the region's reputation as a location for innovative, hi-tech firms."

The centre will be open before the end of the year and will focus on powertrain and transmission technologies as well as investigation into "new energy" electric and hybrid vehicles.

Nottingham-based transmission technology business Romax is already working with Changan and will play a key role in helping to establish the new centre.

Changan has already set up R&D engineering centres in Beijing, Harbin, Jiangxi, Shanghai and Chongqing, as well as two designing centres – one in Turin, Italy, which opened in 2005 and another in Yokohama, Japan, in 2008.

Changan plans to invest approximately £1 billion in R&D over the next three to five years.

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