Continental is building a new US$12.5m technological centre in Brazil to expand capabilities for testing emission, homologation and calibration on gasoline and diesel engines.

The centre is in the Salto Industrial Park, in the interior of São Paulo State, where around 500 people already work at the Continental powertrain facility. Brazilian vehicle manufacturers will have access to the infrastructure offered by the facility for developing and approving new engine and vehicle projects.

The technical centre is expected to be completed by the middle of 2012 and add 50 direct and indirect new jobs. Continental said the hiring of local labour would be preferred.

“We already have support agreements signed with vehicle manufacturers which will come into force in the second half of 2012”, said Continental Group head in Brazil Mauricio Muramoto.

The centre will provide the main technology and resources of the powertrain portfolio, with Continental powertrain division head in Brazil, Anderson Citron highlighting Salto’s strategic location and existing portfolio of Continental sensors and actuators, engine management and fuel supply technology.

Continental’s future centre will occupy a total area of 2,400 square meters and will be equipped with chassis and engine bench dynamometers, a chemical laboratory, fuel tanks, a climatic pre-conditioning area and climatic chambers large enough to hold some average-sized cars at temperatures of minus 35 to 50 degrees centigrade.

The centre will operate on a two-shift basis, with the possibility to add a third shift according to business demand. “All tech centres at Continental follow the same standards in regard of tech equipment, test measurement capability and furthermore centralised processes, methods and automation footprint for best efficiency and comparable measurement results worldwide,” added head of tech centres, Continental powertrain, Wendelin Kluegl.