Lear Corporation in Sunderland has been chosen as the location for the US automotive giant’s European research and development division, against competition across Europe.
The company will build a £1.5m extension for R&D work following advice and support from Sunderland City Council’s Business Investment Team.
The research and development facility will create new highly skilled jobs, and strengthen the links between Lear and the University of Sunderland.
Jim Casey, operations director at Lear Sunderland said: “The Sunderland plant is recognised as a model plant worldwide for Lear Corporation.
“We have really talented workers at this plant, proven capability and strong links with the City Council and the university, all of which contributed to us securing this significant new dimension to our work at Lear Sunderland. I’d particularly like to thank Sunderland City Council for its much-valued support because without it this development would not have happened.”
Building and fitting out of the R&D extension is expected to be completed by September 2017.
Two years ago Lear Corporation made a multi-million pound investment to more than double the size of its plant at Rainton Bridge Industrial Estate, and create over 100 new jobs.
The factory, which opened in 2011, was Lear’s first UK foam manufacturing facility for vehicle seating and now employs 420 people. The factory has ramped up production to meet existing Nissan business and additional business for Jaguar Landrover.
Irene Lucas CBE, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council said: “Lear’s decision to bring the European R&D facility to Sunderland is fantastic news. It’s a huge vote of confidence in Sunderland from a world-leading company, and strong evidence that this city is a global player in the automotive market.
“It will create new highly skilled jobs and strengthens the city’s reputation as a strong location for high tech, research and development companies.”
Lear is one of the world’s top automotive component makers with 243 manufacturing sites in 37 countries, employing approximately 150,000 people. Its seating and electrical components are found in more than 300 types of vehicle made by virtually every car manufacturer around the globe.”