Allison Transmission of the USA, a division of General Motors Corp, launched its biggest foreign venture today with a $31.4m factory in Hungary to make nearly 40,000 transmissions a year for buses, special vehicles and trucks outside North America.

"This plant gives us a strong strategic manufacturing presence overseas," Michael G Headly, Allison's director of international operations, said at the factory opening in Szentgotthard, western Hungary. "It allows us to be more flexible and responsive to customers beyond our home market, especially in Europe and Asia."

The 5,300-square-metre site, which plans to make 11,000 transmissions in 2001, is in part of a factory of Opel Hungary Manufacturing Ltd (OHM), a subsidiary of GM's German unit Adam Opel AG.

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