Autoliv is establishing a steering wheel production facility in China which will be the company’s 10th such plant.

The new facility will be integrated into the new 11,000 sq. metre airbag assembly plant, nearing completion in Shanghai.

An area of 5,000 sq. meters has been allocated for the steering wheel project. The production capacity initially will be one million units a year, with the potential to expand to two million within three years. China is this year expected to produce 2.5 million vehicles.

The production and test equipment for initial phase will be installed and commissioned during October 2004. Start of production is scheduled for Q3 next year. The anticipated total investment for the project is $US10 million.

The steering wheel facility will begin with 70 employees and will increase staff to 300 as the production rate increases. Local engineers are already in training at other plants overseas. Technology support will be further enhanced by the deployment of specialist engineers from facilities in Europe.

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Initial customers include joint venture Mazda and Suzuki operations, local vehicle makers, CAC and Changan.

The new plant will be Autoliv’s sixth manufacturing facility in China.