Showa Aluminum Czech has expanded its car radiator factory in Kladno, Czech Republic, to supply new Volkswagen group platforms.
"We have doubled production capacity," said Tomas Parizek, deputy manager of human resources and general affairs. "We now have two production lines and we have added 160 production workers."
The Kladno plant expects to build 1.5 million radiators this year, twice the 2002 volume, Parizek said.
Showa's CZK393 million (E12.6 million) expansion project nearly doubled assembly space and pushed monthly production to more than 120,000 units, he added.
With the expansion, Showa shifted some work to the Czech plant from Japan.
The new production line will produce radiators for new VW group platforms. The Kladno factory now employs 430.
Over 75 percent of production is exported outside the Czech Republic, mostly to VW plants in Germany and Poland. The rest is for the Skoda's Czech plant in Mlada Boleslav.
Calendar 2002 financials have not been completed yet, but Showa expects Kladno plant revenue to be about CZK1.3 billion, up roughly CZK200 million from 2001.
The original $28 million (E26 million) greenfield factory 20km east of Prague was opened in 1999. It was the first major Japanese investment in the Czech automotive sector.
Since 2000, supplier companies have announced new plants or expansions in the Czech Republic. Most have been German, US or French investors, with only six deals from other Japanese companies.
Showa Aluminum Czech is a wholly owned subsidiary of Showa Denko of Tokyo. Showa has 5,600 employees at plants in Asia, the USA and the Czech Republic.