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Autoliv to make steering wheels in China

By David Reed, UT EditorStockholm-Autoliv, a world leader in automotive safety systems, is building a 5000-m2 steering wheel production facility within its 11 000-m2 airbag assembly plant, which is nearing completion in Shanghai. The anticipated total investment for the project is $10 million.The production and test equipment for an initial phase will be installed and commissioned during October 2004, with production scheduled to start in the third quarter of next year, according to a 2 Aug statement from the Swedish firm. The unit will be Autoliv’s 10th steering wheel plant and its sixth manufacturing facility in China. It will be able to make one million units a year, with the potential to expand to two million units within three years, according to the statement.Employment at the unit will expand in line with production growth, Autoliv indicated, starting at 70 staff in the first instance, ultimately rising to 300.Local engineers are already in training at other Autoliv steering wheel plants outside China, where they will acquire both process and development skills. Technology support will be further enhanced by the deployment of specialist engineers from Autoliv facilities in Europe.Customers to be supplied in the first instance includes joint venture OEMs, Mazda and Suzuki, together with local OEMs, CAC and Changan.”

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