Johnson Controls Inc. plans to build 10 new seat plants in China over the next five years to offset a sluggish market in Europe and a more modest expansion in North America.Speaking during a meeting with investors Wednesday, company CEO Steve Roell said he remains "bullish" on China. "We think it will continue to prosper, though not as fast as it has been," he said.Johnson Controls currently has 56 plants in China -- some wholly owned and some joint ventures -- that generate $5 billion (31 billion yuan) in sales. Roell did not offer any details about the new sites.Johnson Controls already produces 45 percent of the seats made in China, Roell estimated. Although the Chinese auto industry has slowed, it still promises greater growth potential than any other market, he said."Ninety-nine percent of what we do in China stays in China or in Southeast Asia," he said. "We did not go to China for labor arbitrage, we went to participate in the local market."Baird Equity Research said in a written report that it sees Johnson Controls "outpacing the market due to meaningful China exposure."Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Johnson Controls ranks seventh on Automotive News' list of the top 100 global suppliers. In fiscal 2011, the company reported worldwide sales to automakers of $21.3 billion.
Johnson Controls to build 10 new seat plants
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