​Continental breaks ground on its first plant in Lithuania

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 23 Jul 2018


Continental is continuing to expand its European production capacities, celebrating the groundbreaking ceremony for its first plant in Kaunas, Lithuania, on July 20.

From the second half of 2019, electronic components for the European market will be manufactured in the technology company’s new electronics plant. Components will include door and seat control units as well as gateways and units for intelligent glass control, whose film technology allows the vehicle glazing to be darkened automatically or via user input. Furthermore, short and long-range radar sensors for comfort and safety functions and the Assisted & Automated Control Unit (ADCU) – a safe and secure multipurpose processing platform ideally suited for applications in the realm of Highly Automated Driving – will be produced.

Continental will be investing 95 million euros over the next five years and will create around 1,000 new jobs. The recruiting phase has already been started, firstly focusing on production related areas such as Industrial Engineering, Logistics, Manufacturing Operations and Production, as well as Quality.

“The construction of our first plant in Lithuania is an important part of our growth strategy in Europe. We are glad that with the modern industrial region here in Kaunas, the excellent infrastructure and the highly qualified workforce, we have found the ideal location”, said Helmut Matschi, member of the Continental Executive Board and head of the Interior division.

“Lithuania for a while has been trying to attract the manufacturers of complex automotive electronics components. However, even capable of offering everything that is needed for the companies of this industry, Lithuania did not enter the list of investors due to the size of the market and the distance to the car manufacturers. Continental is one of the first companies to notice the potential of the country," stated Virginijus Sinkevicius, the Minister of Economy.

“The market for automotive electronics is surging as the number of in-vehicle electronics systems continues to rise. With the latest addition to our global network of 30 electronics plants, we are continuing to expand our production capacity. This will enable us to meet the growing customer demand even more effectively,” said Dr. Hans-Jürgen Braun, head of Continental’s electronics plants.

State-of-the-art plant meets Industry 4.0 norms
Construction has begun on the new site in Kaunas, spanning an initial 22,000 square metres, including accommodating production, administration and warehousing facilities. The modular concept allows to further expand these components in the future as required. The plant fulfills Industry 4.0 requirements, which means that it will be possible in the future to use, for example, Automated Guided Vehicles. When it comes to sustainability and the environment, the construction is abiding by strict requirements and standards.

Continental specifically selected the site in Kaunas, explains Shayan Ali, managing director of Continental in Lithuania: “Kaunas is Lithuania's industrial center and the nation's leading electronics and automation hub. At the same time, its population of 47,000 students – around 10 percent of whom are specialising in electronics manufacture – puts a wealth of technical knowhow at our disposal, so we are expecting to gain some highly qualified employees. All in all, Kaunas is the perfect location for our new plant.”