HANOVER, Germany—ContiTech A.G. picked a strategic location—Changshu—as the site of a new research and development center for its Vibration Control business in Asia.
Located in Jiangsu Province, about 57 miles from Shanghai, Changshu is home to several automotive manufacturers, the firm said.
"From there we are able to serve the Asian markets in Korea, Japan, China and India," a ContiTech spokesman said.
The company is investing about $10.4 million in the facility, the firm's first to serve the automotive industry in that area, according to a spokesman.
ContiTech operates several other R&D centers that work with a number of other products in the region.
The spokesman said the center spans about 21,530 square feet and will employ about 30 engineers by the end of 2013.
The company began constructing the R&D building in 2012 and completed construction recently, he said.
It chose Changshu because the city is "located in the strategic vicinity of our local customers in China," the spokesman said.
ContiTech's newest R&D facility will develop products for vehicle mounting and vibration control technology, working in collaboration with General Motors Co., Geely Automobile Holding Ltd., Great Wall Motor Co., Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co. Ltd. and Qoros Auto Co. Ltd.
It will serve all automotive makers in the region, according to the spokesman. "We work with engineers from the local markets who best know the needs of the customers."
An order for engine mounts from auto maker Qoros was the deciding factor in moving ahead with the project to expand the company's R&D competencies in Asia, the Hanover-headquartered company said.
In 2010, the firm's Vibration Control operation won a contract to collaborate in the development of the central platform for assembly of Qoros' first production model.
"We made a very clear decision to carry out development in the regions where the key global auto makers are active: in Europe, North and South America, and now, of course, in Asia as well," said Kai Uwe Fruhauf, head of the vibration control business unit.
He said the new facility makes it possible not only to offer support to auto makers in developing products worldwide, but also to meet customers' local needs quickly at key locations.
Comprehensive service and custom-made products are important criteria that will help the vibration control operation continue to grow with its customers in China and elsewhere in the region, according to the executive.
ContiTech currently operates 10 plants and employs about 2,350 in China.