PARIS—French-owned automotive parts maker Hutchinson is set to launch full production at its seventh plant in Poland by the end of this year.
The group's latest facility, constructed at Zawada, near Debica in south western Poland, will produce Hutchinson's car body seal systems for customers including the PSA Group and Volvo Cars.
This 226,000-sq.-ft. production and warehouse unit, constructed in just six months, is at the heart of the firm's newest expansion project worth about $44 million.
Inauguration of the facility on July 19 was symbolic as it was not immediately operating, though component-assembly was expected to begin within days, Piotr Gaska head of Hutchinson's European body sealing system division said at the ceremony.
Gaska stressed that the unit was intended to ease production pressure on the company's existing Polish sealing systems and transmission belts plant at Lodz.
The Zawada plant will be equipped with three extrusion lines by the year-end and is set to employ an initial workforce of 240 by then. The employee total eventually will increase to 700, according to the company, part of the Total energy group.
Hutchinson Poland's original plant was a 151,000-sq.-ft. unit making fluid transmission fuel lines, established in the south central town of Zywiec in 1997. A second plant to produce water pipes for vehicle cooling liquids and ventilation and heating systems opened there in 2000.
The first Lodz facility was launched with an area of almost 193,750 sqaure feet in 2003, while Hutchinson went on to add a second unit of 215,000 square feet there in 2007 making precision and aerial seals and antivibration systems.
A fifth production unit appeared at Bielsko-Bialain 2005 serving the automotive air conditioning and power steering systems segment. Hutchinson built its sixth unit in the country at Zywiec last year to turn out rubber compound used by the other plants.
During the recent launch, Hutchinson group CEO Jacques Maigne pointed out that Poland is the group's "number one" location in terms of production and employment. "In 2018, we plan to exceed the level of employment to over 10,000 employees in Poland," he said.
Last year, the group, which has an international workforce of 45,000 in 25 countries around the world, reported annual sales of more than $4.7 billion.