Wrightbus Indian factory will support Ballymena staff

From left, Mark Nodder, Wright Group, Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses, and Markus Villinger, managing director, Daimler Buses India

BALLYMENA bus maker Wrightbus have officially opened their new premises in India - and insisted the plant will help sustain jobs in Northern Ireland.

The factory, a collaborative operation with Daimler, produces a range of buses designed specifically for the Indian market.

The facility in Chennai has the capacity to produce 1,500 vehicles a year and provides work for 140 employees.

Wrightbus said the plant, first revealed by the Irish News in 2013, would cement the position of workers in Ballymena, where research and development for the new range was carried out.

Wright Group chairman and chief executive Mark Nodder said: India is a huge emerging market with massive potential. Having a presence on the ground in the territory and a bus range design specifically for the Indian market, will help sustain employment for the current workforce of 130 Wrightbus International employees based at group headquarters in Northern Ireland. The opening of this assembly plant is a proactive step towards international expansion that will impact positively on Wrights Group performance and the local economy.

Enterprise minister Jonathan Bell said the opening of the new factory was "a milestone achievement for Wrightbus and follows extensive market research over the past six years. As well as support with developing its new product for the Indian market, the Ballymena-based manufacturer benefited from advice and practical support from Invest NIs team of experts to link up with Daimler."

He added: Wrightbus is among Northern Irelands leading export businesses and this market offers exciting opportunities for those ambitious companies prepared to make the necessary long-term commitment and deploy the necessary financial and staff resources to do worthwhile international business. This investment will be an important catalyst in driving the companys international growth strategy and enhance its already valuable contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.


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