Continental has broken ground at its first EUR95m (US$111m) plant in Kaunas, Lithuania, creating around 1,000 new jobs.

From the second half of 2019, electronic components for the European market will be manufactured in the technology company's new plant.

Components will include door and seat control units as well as gateways and units for intelligent glass control, whose film technology allows vehicle glazing to be darkened automatically or via user input.

Short and long-range radar sensors for comfort and safety functions and the Assisted & Automated Control Unit (ADCU) – a safe & secure multi-purpose processing platform for Highly Automated Driving - will also be produced.

The recruiting phase has already started, firstly focusing on production-related areas such as Industrial Engineering, Logistics, Manufacturing Operations and Production, as well as Quality.

"The construction of our first plant in Lithuania is an important part of our growth strategy in Europe," said Continental interior division head, Helmut Matschi.

"We are glad with the modern industrial region here in Kaunas, the excellent infrastructure and the highly qualified workforce, we have found the ideal location."

For his part, Lithuania Minister of Economy, Virginijus Sinkevicius added: "Lithuania for a while has been trying to attract the manufacturers of complex automotive electronics components. However, even capable of offering everything needed for the companies of this industry, Lithuania did not enter the list of investors due to the size of the market and the distance to the car manufacturers.

"Continental is one of the first companies to notice the potential of the country and its coming is one of the factors that helped to map Lithuania in the map of this industry.

"As the manufacturers of automotive components carry out the most direct foreign investment projects in Europe, a great amount of opportunities now opens to Lithuania."

Construction has started on the new site in Kaunas, spanning an initial 22,000m2, including production, administration and warehousing facilities. The modular concept allows to further expand these components in the future as required.

The plant fulfils Industry 4.0 requirements, which means that it will be possible in the future to use, for example, Automated Guided Vehicles.

"Kaunas is Lithuania's industrial centre and the nation's leading electronics and automation hub," said Continental Lithuania MD, Shayan Ali.

"At the same time its population of 47,000 students – around 10% of whom are specializing in electronics manufacture – puts a wealth of technical know-how at our disposal so we are expecting to gain some highly qualified employees."

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