Major Chinese automaker locates to Birmingham Business Park

Changan Automobile, one of the world’s fastest growing automotive manufacturers, is moving its UK operations to Birmingham Business Park in Solihull.

Headquartered in Chongqing, China, Changan has acquired long-term leases on 24,000 sqft of space in three Parkside offices at Birmingham Business Park in Solihull.

The site will house the UK head office of Changan’s Powertrain and Research & Development divisions.
The site will house the UK head office of Changan’s Powertrain and Research & Development divisions.

The site will house the UK head office of Changan’s Powertrain and Research & Development divisions.

Changan UK’s move is expected to be completed by October, and involves the consolidation of its existing locations and the relocation of 110 roles from Nottingham Science Park and Fen End, Warwickshire.

General manager of Changan UK, Dr Xiaoyu Zhang commented: “We are committed to turning Changan into the world’s leading automotive company, and establishing advanced technology R&D facilities across the globe is fundamental to our plans for growth.

“Our new site at Birmingham Business Park in the UK will become a world-class powertrain research centre. This new location will strengthen our commitment to the UK market by promoting the growth and sustainability of Changan UK, developing links with local universities and creating new jobs for the region.”

The news follows unprecedented interest in Greater Birmingham and Solihull from potential Chinese investors, who are keen to investigate schemes such as the HS2 terminals at UK Central in Solihull and Birmingham Curzon, and the creation of Birmingham’s new Smithfield quarter.

Between January and May 2015, Changan has already sold a total of 1.25m vehicles.
Between January and May 2015, Changan has already sold a total of 1.25m vehicles.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore noted: “This region is attracting the attention of investors from across the world, particularly China, and it is fantastic news to have Changan UK locating here.

“Establishing direct routes to Beijing from Birmingham Airport is helping this region to forge even closer links with the country. Major infrastructure projects like HS2 represent our confidence in realising the region’s full potential. We have solid plans in place that demonstrate to Chinese investors the scale and ambition of the investment opportunities available here.”

The West Midlands has secured 45 Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) projects during the past ten years, and has reportedly attracted more Chinese FDI than any other UK region outside London during that time.

Last year, Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP attracted more foreign direct investment than any other LEP area in the UK – with 73 investments creating nearly 4,800 new jobs.

Leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Cllr Bob Sleigh added: “The internationally renowned skills of the wider region’s advanced manufacturing industry, which employs over 180,000 people, was a key factor behind Changan UK’s decision to locate here.

Changan’s UK base –set up in 2010 – specialises in advanced powertrain technology design and development.
Changan’s UK base –set up in 2010 – specialises in advanced powertrain technology design and development.

“Its move to Solihull demonstrates that we have the reputation – and ability – to attract some of the most exciting companies in the world.”

Changan has nearly 50,000 employees worldwide and is affiliated to the state-owned China South Industries Group Corporation.

Over recent years, the company has made significant investments into advanced technology R&D globally, alongside establishing joint ventures with Suzuki; Ford; Mazda; Volvo, and PSA Peugeot-Citroen.

In 2014, Changan sold 2.54m vehicles. Between January and May 2015, the company had already sold a total of 1.25m vehicles. Changan’s own brand sales are ranked no.1 in China and 15th globally.

The organisation has a number of R&D centres around the world, with four based in Italy, Japan, the US and the UK. Its UK base – which the firm set up in 2010 – specialises in advanced powertrain technology design and development.