AL-KO Vehicle Technology, the leading German supplier of high quality chassis components for trailers, leisure vehicles and light commercial vehicles, is to set up a research and product development centre in Kaunas. This technology centre will recruit 30 staff members over the next three years to develop the company’s new products for the trailer and automotive industry.
“We chose Kaunas due to the rapidly growing automotive component manufacturing cluster. Seeing its development and how Kaunas municipality and the city’s universities are interested in the cluster, we believe that this location will become one of the centres for the future automotive industry and we want to be here as early as possible,” Dr. Frank Sager, AL-KO’s senior vice president for research and development, said.
The research and development centre to be set up in Lithuania will develop electronic components for caravans, commercial trailers, motorhomes, commercial vehicles and applications for smart devices.
In the near future, AL-KO will employ a team of 10 experts and over the coming three years aims to have a team of 30 professionals in place developing the company’s products. The company plans to cooperate with Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) in training the required specialists in the area of mechatronics, electronic engineering and applications systems. In addition, it expects to cooperate with KTU in the field of scientific research and contribute to the research work of postgraduate students.
“When Lithuania set itself a goal to become one of the most attractive locations for the automotive component sector and attracting foreign investors to this end, there were some who had reasonable doubts about it. However, today we can see that Lithuania is an attractive location not only for automotive component manufacturing but also for research and product development. This is a new qualitative leap in the activities of this rapidly growing cluster,” Mantas Katinas, director general of Invest Lithuania, said.
By the end of 2015 AL-KO and Dexter Axle – a trailer axle and brake supplier from the US – are united under the roof of the new company DexKo Global Inc. with a turnover of over USD 1 billion. It has become the world’s largest axle and chassis component manufacturer in this segment and it is planned to grow further.
At present, the DexKo Global has around 4,200 employees in 45 countries worldwide. AL-KO Vehicle Technology is represented on all continents of the globe – with a total of 2400 employees and over 40 production locations, sales companies and around 1000 service stations.