MORE than 130 jobs will be created when a French car parts firm opens its new factory on Wearside.
Financière SNOP Dunois Group, which makes parts for Nissan, is investing millions of pounds to convert the former TRW Valves facility in Washington into a new production base.
The 14,000-square-metre plant, at Stephenson Industrial Estate, will hold 30 robotic cells, stamping and assembly presses to create more than 90 parts.
The 130 jobs will be filled within SNOP UK’s first two years at Washington.
Group chief finance officer Jean-Francois le Bos, director of Western Area Yannick Jiquel and project manager Xavier Chaptal joined Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson and chief executive Dave Smith at the plant yesterday.
Mr le Bos praised the help the firm had received from the authority.
“This is an important move for us, and we have to thank the team at Sunderland City Council for their excellent support and advice, which made a big difference to us in helping to bring about this move.
“We now plan to create 130 jobs and to build on the excellent relationship we have with Nissan in Sunderland.” He added: “We are all excited about the prospects of our automotive manufacturing plant.
“We are looking forward to a long, successful and productive future here in Sunderland.”
SNOP already has more than 30 employees working within Nissan Sunderland, who will transfer to the new factory.
Tony Brown, who is in charge of SNOP UK within Nissan, will be the manager at the new factory.
Coun Watson said: “Good news is always welcome and this is good news for Sunderland.
“We are delighted SNOP have chosen Sunderland to set up their UK manufacturing plant.
“Sunderland does have a worldwide reputation as a centre for the automotive industry, that we have built up over the last few years, and we are extremely proud of it.”
He told SNOP bosses: “I think you will enjoy your time here and I think you will be very successful.”