Mahle is adapting to the increase in vehicle production in Asian countries and to Asian vehicle manufacturers relocating their production. The research and development center in China is being expanded, a new production plant is being built in Japan, and two plants are being enlarged in Thailand.
It is forecast that Chinese vehicle production will increase from today's level of about 20 million units (passenger cars and commercial vehicles) to 30 million units per year by 2017. Development contracts will increase accordingly. Mahle is preparing itself in view of this development and is expanding its existing research and development center in Shanghai.
The location, which comprises central functions such as sales, purchasing, human resources, IT, and finance in addition to research and development, will be expanded by adding three new buildings. Nearly 9,000 m2 of additional lab and office space will be added to the existing 7,000 m2. Following the expansion, the research and development center will have six boxes for complete engine test benches, in place of the two it has today. The number of employees can be increased from currently 230 to as many as 450. The official opening will take place on November 13, 2012.
On the north end of the island of Kyushu, well-known Japanese vehicle manufacturers currently produce about 1.5 million vehicles annually — with a rising trend, although the total number of vehicles built in Japan is stagnating. One advantage of the location in Kyushu is its access to seaports, which are important for exports and imports with East Asian markets.
Source: Mahle GmbH, Stuttgart