300 new jobs for Sunderland

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HUNDREDS of jobs are to be created on Wearside with a multimillion pound investment from one of the world’s biggest companies.

The U.S.-based Lear Corporation announced today it has chosen Sunderland as the location to create a new factory producing foam for vehicle seats.

Lear’s decision to base its new operation on Wearside, creating more than 300 new jobs, follows more than 18 months of talks with Sunderland City Council.

The new factory will be next to Lear’s existing joint venture with Japanese company Tachi-S at Rainton Bridge.

Tacle Seating UK, established in 2005, builds vehicle seats for Nissan and other manufacturers.

Gideon Jewel, president of Lear Corporation’s Seating Operations, Europe and Africa, was flying in this morning to put pen to paper on the lease for the new plant.

“I’m delighted to be able to announce our decision to invest in Sunderland today,” he said.

“The 300 new jobs are planned in two phases over the next three years, opening opportunities for local people to be part of a world-leading company.

“We’re impressed with the superb support we’ve had from Sunderland City Council’s Business Investment team, who have worked tirelessly to help bring about the major new investment and new jobs to the city.”

City council leader Coun Paul Watson said: “I’m delighted that one of the world’s leading automotive component companies has chosen to locate its first UK manufacturing facility in Sunderland.

“The decision will create more than 300 skilled job opportunities in the long-term for the city and underpins Sunderland’s Economic Masterplan by strengthening the city’s automotive manufacturing sector.

“It’s a resounding vote of confidence in Sunderland and it brings the total number of new jobs announced for the city to 15,000 in the last 10 years.”

Gary Hutchinson, chairman of the North East Chamber of Commerce’s Sunderland committee, said: “This is excellent news for our city in terms of much needed jobs, but also a statement of the levels of businesses we are able to attract,” he said.

“Lear is a massive U.S. company, creating its first facility of its type in the UK.

“This is further expansion in this sector, brought on by the ongoing success of the automotive industry in the city.

“This is a signal to the region and the UK that Sunderland is a great place to do business and the chamber will support all such activity.

“The challenge to business and the city council is to find more like this, to develop our city economy ahead of others.”

The Lear Corporation, which has an annual turnover of $12billion, is one of the world’s top component producers, supplying everything from seats to fascias to car companies worldwide.

The new plant will provide a major boost to the North East’s manufacturing sector, as well as reducing the environmental impact of seat production by centralising the whole process on one site.