Welsh Government funding of £4.4m will see international automotive giants Calsonic Kansei develop and produce cutting edge electric vehicle technology at their Llanelli plant, creating a further 85 jobs, Economy Secretary Ken Skates has confirmed.
The plant currently employs a workforce in excess of 300 to manufacture cooling systems and air conditioning components for many of the major automotive companies worldwide. The announcement was made just over a month after nearby Schaeffler announced it was preparing to run down and close its bearings business at Burry Port, a short distance away, with the loss of 220 jobs.
Economy Secretary Ken Skates said of the Calsonic Kansei development, “First and foremost, this is a real vote of confidence in the workforce at the company’s Llanelli plant.
“To have a company of such international standing commit to securing their current workforce alongside creating a further 85 jobs during such uncertain times is excellent news.
“For our part, our £4.4m investment has not only helped secure these jobs over a period of at least the next 5 years, but also ensures that Calsonic Kansei, and Wales have the necessary capacity and expertise to be a global leader in emerging Electric Vehicle technologies, particularly battery cooling developments.
“This move to a more sustainable model aligns directly with our Economic Action Plan and sees the company commit to growth, fair work, reducing their carbon footprint and promoting health, up-skilling and learning in the work place.
“It’s an opportune moment to for us to ensure this important regional employer plays a continued role in our growing economy and builds on our commitment to make sure our businesses are ready and equipped to make the most of the opportunities presented by the technologies of tomorrow.”
Keiichiro Miyanaga, CEO of Calsonic Kansei in Europe welcomed this award, adding, “This support will help us secure the necessary skills, products and investment in our Llanelli site to meet the rapidly evolving requirements from electrification within the Automotive Industry.
“Through investment in product development and manufacturing capacity within the site, we can ensure we have the required capability to meet the future product needs of our key customers.”
The investment was also welcomed by Tim Williams, ceo of the Welsh Automotive Forum, which promotes the component supply sector in Wales, “This investment comes at a crucial time for the automotive sector in Wales. It is facing possibly the biggest upheaval in production and engineering since the dawn of the motor car and while we have many traditional component supply businesses in Wales it shows they can adapt to the changing needs of manufacturing and society.”