A manufacturer of vehicle soundproofing systems is set to create 180 new jobs in Staffordshire with the opening of a new factory in the county.
The UK arm of Swiss firm Rieter Automotive will take up occupancy of its new purpose built 100,000sq ft plant in Stoke early in the New Year.
The decision to locate in the county could be followed by others hoping to make the most of Toyota's increased production schedules at Burnaston, across the border in Derbyshire.
As well as Toyota, Reiter also supplies Nissan, Land Rover and Jaguar.
Martin Hands, head of Rieter Automotive in the UK, said: "Stoke-on-Trent offers us a fantastic opportunity to meet the changing demands of the sector, especially in regards to the logistical advantage of having excellent road connections. Being involved in the design of the factory from the ground up is allowing us to work towards a truly 'world class' operation, putting lean manufacturing techniques into practice."
Rieter, which has been assisted by inward investment agency InStaffs, is now looking to start its recruitment drive, with the first 25 vacancies set to be advertised this week.
This figure will gradually increase in line with
2006. production levels and will reach 180 by the end of
Mr Hands said: "North Staffs is well known for its manufacturing skills base and this is something we want to tap into over the coming months. There will be a variety of positions available from trainers, manufacturing associates and logistics personnel, right through to production and quality engineers and maintenance technicians."
Rieter Automotive Systems specialises in 'making cars quiet' by making specialist trim and acoustic products for use in flooring, the engine compartment, the boot and roof.
Mr Hands said: "The Stoke-on-Trent site will join two existing factories in the UK and will contribute to our current £60 million annual turnover in this country. Trentham Lakes will be the base for our formed carpet and felt-based product
lines and is set to supply our major customers with over half a million car sets a year.
"In addition to current business, it will also start supplying components on four new vehicle programmes during the course of 2006."
Simon Jones, who will be the plant manager, said: "Everyone is extremely excited and raring to get going at Trentham, sentiments that are not surprising when you consider that our target is to develop into one of the best manufacturing operations in the world. The layout of the factory has been based on the principles of lean manufacturing and our workers will participate in the continuous improvement culture of the plant."
Tony Joynson, project manger at InStaffs, said: " Rieter is a fantastic advert for the area and I'm sure the company will make the most of our skills pool, strategic location and excellent road network when competing in the global automotive industry.
" We have had four inquiries in the last few months, and hopefully this could lead to more automotive suppliers coming to the county.
"Thirty minutes distance away seems to be the cut off for just in time deliveries to Toyota, and many companies are looking to take advantage of our proximity."