Serbia prowess sees Yanfeng open interiors plant

YFAI has opened its new plant near Kragujevac with potential for up to 800 new jobs

YFAI has opened its new plant near Kragujevac with potential for up to 800 new jobs

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI) says the availability of skilled labour and robust infrastructure convinced it to start operations in the Serbian city of Kragujevac.

The city – Serbia's fourth largest and around 100 miles south of Belgrade – has long been at the heart of the Balkan country's manufacturing sector with Fiat's cooperation with Zastava visible on Kragujevac's roads with the eponymous vehicle a common sight.

"What we found here is an ample source of skilled people," Yanfeng CEO, Steve Meszaros told just-auto at the opening of its interior components factory, which lies near to the supplier's other YFAI locations in Eastern Europe. "This plant is just one example of how we intend to pursue our global strategy.

"We have chosen Serbia to expand our business in the Eastern European region as the automotive industry continues to go East. This new facility is well positioned geographically to support our operation with efficient transport logistics. Building and launching a new facility would not be possible without the support of many agencies."

The new Kragujevac factory benefits from being in a Serbian Free Trade Zone, which operates simplified customs procedures, with the components facility being established in just a few months with the support of Belgrade and the Serbian Development Agency.

"It is not only the country's automotive history, that attracted us, it is the availability of the skilled personnel," added Meszaros. "Our plant is designed to employ up to 800 [staff] and we fully expect to become the employer of choice."

In the Central and Eastern European region, the new plant in Kragujevac follows the expansion of the supplier's manufacturing network. Key to the decision to locate in Serbia was the plant's position in South East and Central Europe, as well as proximity to other YFAI plants in Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

"The Free Trade Zone gives us the ability to minimise any potential delays," said Meszaros. "In our business it is always a balance between logistics and other factors."

In addition YFAI's CEE manufacturing sites, the supplier has a Technical Centre in Trencin and an Automotive Business Centre in Bratislava.

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