Changan Automobile is establishing Changan UK Research and Development Centre in Nottingham, creating up to 200 new jobs over the next three years.

Changan’s sales have been increasing by around 30% annually, and its production and sales between January and April in 2010 ranked second in China. The company’s production capacity is 2.5m units per year and the establishment of the facility in Nottingham will enable Changan to collaborate with UK automotive R&D companies and will also help UK companies win business with Changan.

The East Midlands Development Agency said it had worked “intensively” with Changan since March 2009 to look at the national and regional strengths in automotive R&D, particularly in powertrain, transmissions, chassis and new energy technologies while highlighting the availability of skills and expertise within businesses and regional universities.

Changan Automobile has nine production bases and 21 complete vehicle factories in China, and had 2009 turnover of about GBP6bn.

Chairman Xu Liuping said: “Setting up our own R&D centres overseas, including in the UK, is a vital stepping stone for Changan Automobile to utilise global resources and to enter the league of the world leading carmakers.”

The UK centre in Nottingham, due to  open before the end of the year, will focus on powetrain and transmission technologies as well as investigation into ‘new energy’ electric and hybrid vehicles.

The facility initially will employ 25-30 with expansion to 200 within three years. Nottingham based transmission technology business, Romax, is already working with Changan and will play a key role in helping to establish the new centre.

Changan also has R&D engineering centres in Beijing, Harbin, Jiangxi, Shanghai and Chongqing and design centres in Turin, Italy, and Yokohama, Japan. R&D has accounted for over 4.5% of annual sales for almost a decade and it plans to invest over RMB10 billion (GBP1bn) in the next three to five years.