Jobs boost for Sunderland as electric motor production company Saietta relocates manufacturing hub from China

A ‘green engineering’ firm which specialises in the production of electric power-trains has signed a lease to relocate its manufacturing hub to Houghton, creating new jobs for the area.

The move to the former ZF site in Rainton Bridge will see the Saietta Group relocate its major e-motor production from China, also strengthening Sunderland’s position as a leading European manufacturing hub.

The company is at the forefront of pioneering electric motors and transportation and hope the move into Sunderland will fast-track the business to the “next step in its evolution”.

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Saietta’s expansion to include the 86,000 sq ft site is part of its target to increase capacity to manufacture around 100,000 electric propulsion motors per year.

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The company’s chief executive, Vic Kist, said: “This is a landmark achievement for Saietta, providing us with a UK pilot production facility almost two years ahead of schedule, accelerating our capability to supply our innovation to clients in high volume globally.

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“In addition to the lease on the large premises in Sunderland, we’re also acquiring automotive production lines and are ready to employ a fantastic, proven team with decades of experience in manufacturing electric motors between them.”

“The UK is a hot spot for electric power-train innovation and we’re committed to building up the engineering and manufacturing of our technology in the UK and exporting to mainland Europe and beyond. This is a very clear signal of our intent.”

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Former ZF factory in Houghton-le-Spring has been taken over by Saietta with CEO Vic Kist and his staff.

The move will also create local job opportunities, with ZF – who manufacture safety systems for cars – announcing last year it would be withdrawing its production from Sunderland, after 30 years of providing employment for local people.

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The arrival has been supported and warmly welcomed by Sunderland City Council who feel the relocation of Saietta, along with Nissan’s confirmation that its Sunderland plant will form the European hub of its electric vehicle production, will put the city at the forefront of moving towards a net-zero carbon economy.

Peter McIntyre, Executive Director of City Development at the Council, said: “This is a fantastic announcement for Sunderland that will secure jobs for people from the city and further afield and increases the city’s contribution to the move towards a net-zero economy.

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“We’ve established Sunderland as a globally recognised hub for engineering and advanced manufacturing, and to attract Saietta is further vindication of that. We’re delighted to have been able to support Saietta with its move into Sunderland and look forward to seeing them go from strength to

Former ZF factory in Houghton-le-Spring has been taken over by Saietta.
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“It’s been brilliant to see ZF play its part in the city’s economy over the years and in supporting Saietta’s move here too.”

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Part of the deal to relocate to Wearside has seen an agreement to create job opportunities for 39 highly-skilled former members of ZF staff who had been made redundant.

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The former ZF factory in Houghton-le-Spring has been taken over by Saietta.

One of those is former ZF Sunderland Plant Manager, Duncan Hedley, who has been offered a role with Saietta.

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He said: “I’m very much looking forward to leading Saietta as it establishes its base in Sunderland, tapping

into the talented skills base we have in the North East.”

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Vic added: “I want to thank ZF and Sunderland City Council for their support. I look forward to working with the

new team to make this facility a key building block in Saietta’s continued growth.”

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Saietta CEO Vic Kist (left) with Plant Manager Duncan Hedley and Sunderland City Council Assistant Director of Economic Regeneration Catherine Auld at the former ZF plant.
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Saietta Chief Executive, Vic Kist, at the site of the company's new manufacturing plant.