Magneti Marelli has begun operations at a new plant in Batu Kawan, Penang, to boost production for ASEAN countries and Japan.

Chief executive Eugenio Razelli said the new plant, which replaces one in Bayan Lepas, will expand production from 1.7m lighting units to 2.2m, including front and rear lights, with the potential to increase capacity to 2.9m.

The Italian components maker supplies Honda, Mazda and Suzuki in Japan, Proton and Perodua in Malaysia and Ford and GM in Thailand and Indonesia.

Razelli said: "The location of the new plant means it will be able to meet increasing demand from the ASEAN market, which is becoming important both in terms of its own developing automotive market and as a production hub aimed at the entire Asian continent, and Japan in particular."

The new facility, with a workforce of 1,000, will produce front headlamps, rear lights, fog lamps and introduce LED technology.

Magneti Marelli, which is part of Fiat, designs and produces advanced systems and components for the automotive industry. It has 86 production units, 12 research and development centres and 26 application centres in 19 countries and about 36,900 employees.

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