Joint venture partners Dongfeng and Schmitz Cargobull lay the foundation stone at groundbreaking ceremony

Trailer production will commence in the new plant as early as 2014

(PresseBox) ( Horstmar/Wuhan, )
Construction of the new trailer plant in Wuhan, China, commences: The construction work begins almost exactly a year after Schmitz Cargobull AG and Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer Dongfeng Motor Group signed a joint venture contract. The first semi-trailers for the Chinese market will roll off the assembly line in the city with 11 million inhabitants in the second half of 2014. The joint venture company will invest more than 100 million Euros in the production facility in Wuhan over a period of five years. On Friday, 29th November 2013, managers from Dongfeng and Schmitz Cargobull laid the foundation stone at a groundbreaking ceremony held on the site of the about-to-be-built new trailer plant.

The municipal city of Wuhan, represented by Mr. Zhu Yi (Member, standing committee of Wuhan municipal committee of CPC, secretary of the working committee of Wuhan Economic and technological development zone), Mr. Shao Weimin, Deputy Mayor; the management, represented by Mr. Zhu Fushou (General Manager, vice Secretary of DFM Party Committee) and Mr. Tong Dongcheng (DFM non-executive director), along with Schmitz Cargobull board members, Andreas Schmitz (also CEO of joint venture) and Mr. Ulrich Schöpker, have attended the groundbreaking ceremony. Mr. Gary Huang, chairman of the board of directors of the joint venture, hosted the ceremony.

A 30,000 m2 production facility will be built on the 150,000 m2 site. The state-of-the-art plant, with an annual production capacity of up to 40,000 semi-trailers, is an important step for Schmitz Cargobull's expansion in China and Asia. 2,500 trailers are planned for the first year. The annual production shall increase to 20,000 semi-trailers over the course of the next three years.

Schmitz Cargobull has already developed a trailer for the Chinese market, which has undergone extensive testing at the Cargobull Validation Center and other locations. "The use on unsealed roads is a day-to-day occurrence in China. Despite the regulations, overloading is a common occurrence. That is why the trailers have to be especially robust," explains Andreas Schmitz, member of the board of Schmitz Cargobull AG and CEO of the joint venture.

Through laying the foundation stone together with leaders of the City of Wuhan, top management from DFM and related parties, the company intends to signal a spirit of a joint endeavor.

"The close cooperation and open attitude of the governmental authorities and industry have made it possible to complete the planning and preparatory work for the new production facility very quickly after signing the contract on 16th November 2012," says Andreas Schmitz.

Mr. Tong Dongcheng offered his congratulations on the kickoff of the construction. He says that partnering with Schmitz Cargobull is one of several significant steps that DFM has been taken to tap deeper into the medium- and heavy-duty truck industry. The future completion of the plant will definitely infuse powerful energy into DFM and the Chinese vehicle industry.

Mr. Zhu Yi said that he was there at the signing ceremony of the company just one year ago and was present again for the groundbreaking ceremony. He is very happy to witness the progress of the joint venture, and is looking forward to seeing the joint venture take DFM and Schmitz Cargobull further ahead and bring prosperity to both the industry and the City of Wuhan.

Dongfeng will handle the trailer sales, the customer service and other services, as the company possesses an extensive network of dealerships and service partners throughout China. With cooperation between Europe's largest trailer manufacturer and China's third-largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, the joint venture intends to utilise both the synergy effects and the growth potential. Both partners have their sights set on a market of 300,000 units consisting of tractor units and trailers.

About Dongfeng Motor Corporation:

Founded in 1969, Dongfeng Motor Corporation, formerly named Second Automobile Works Co., is one of the 3 giant automakers in China. Its main businesses include passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, engines, auto parts & components and equipment. Through over 40 years of development, a set of R&D and manufacturing facilities have been established as well as an extensive distribution and after-sales network, which unfolds a business display footed in Hubei while radiating the whole nation. The major business facilities are located in Shiyan, Xiangfan, Wuhan and Guangzhou. In addition, several branches are placed in Shanghai, Liuzhou (Guangxi), Yancheng (Guangxi), Nanchong (Sichuan), Zhengzhou (Henan), Urumchi (Xinjiang), Chaoyang (liangning), Hangzhou (Zhejiang), Kunming (Yunnan), etc. Dongfeng Motor Company, established in 2003 by Dongfeng Motor Corporation and Nissan Motor Company with a 50:50 equity structure, is the largest automobile joint venture in China up to date. Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle Company is a medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicle business division under Dongfeng Motor Company and has 43 years' history in manufacturing vehicles. Its sales volume for 2010 was 313,000 vehicles, among which 249,000 were middle and heavy trucks. After 9 years joint operation, the company has now developed to the largest medium and heavy truck manufacturer of China.
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