Johnson Controls, a global leader in automotive seating, overhead systems, door and instrument panels, and interior electronics, today signed an agreement with Zhejiang Wanfang New Materials Co., Ltd. (“Zhejiang Wanfang”) to set up a new fabrics joint venture in Haining City, Zhejiang Province. Johnson Controls will become one of the first Global Fortune 500 companies to invest in Haining.
The new joint venture will be called Zhejiang Johnson Controls Wanfang Textile Technology Co., Ltd. It will supply major automakers in China and abroad with automotive and functional fabrics for automotive seating and interior products.
“Zhejiang Wanfang is well-known in the warp knitting industry for its mature technology, advanced management philosophy and professional operations. Its proven quality is highly appraised by its customers, including many Japanese automakers,” said Johannes Roters, group vice president and general manager China, Johnson Controls Automotive Experience. “With the establishment of this new joint venture, Johnson Controls will combine the strong local production capabilities with our global leading technologies. The aim is to reinforce vertical integration in our fabrics business, and provide our customers with state-of-the-art products manufactured locally in China.”
In recent years, Johnson Controls has developed unique expertise in automotive fabrics, including world-class capabilities in coating, weaving, knitting, fine trimming, coloring and lamination, and has become the market leader in the trim cover industry.
“In the next few years, Johnson Controls’ world-class management, manufacturing, design and sustainable capability will be brought into the new joint venture,” Roters said. “With our partner’s support, it will be built into a domestic and global leading automotive fabrics plant, and be positioned as Johnson Controls’ major manufacturing hub and Center of Expertise in China and even in the Asia Pacific region.”
The joint venture formation, which is subject to regulatory and other customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. Financial terms regarding the transaction were not disclosed.