GKN Driveline, the world’s leading supplier of automotive driveline systems and technology, announces the first phase of a significant expansion of its operations in Poland, with the construction of a new production facility.  The expansion will create the capability to  manufacture a range of Driveline technologies, with a specific focus on increased sideshaft capacity in the country.

The phase 1 €16.5 million investment supports the growing needs of customers across the Continent and strengthens GKN’s position as the leading driveline technology provider in Europe. Approximately 400 new jobs could be created in a phased plan over the next four years to support the anticipated growth.

Construction has today commenced on the new 14,280 sqm Driveline production facility . The plant held a ground breaking ceremony to mark the occasion, attended by GKN Driveline Europe President Helmuth Rohregger, employees, customers and local dignitaries.

The facility, which is expected to be complete by April 2016, will supply major car manufacturers in Europe and Russia, including Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes and FCA. When phase 1 is fully operational it will have capacity to produce over one million propshafts a year.

The facility is being constructed adjacent to GKN’s existing plant in Olesnica, South West Poland, which produces Constant Velocity Joints (CVJ), and increases the site’s overall footprint by over 50%. The expansion will also increase GKN’s Poland CVJ production capacity to over 10 million units a year.

In addition, the site’s technical capabilities will be expanded as part of a large investment program in GKNs global technology network. Peter Moelgg President of Engineering for GKN Automotive, said:“Olesnica is a perfect location for advanced technology research and development, with outstanding potential engineers and scientists available from excellent local universities.“

Helmuth Rohregger, GKN Driveline President Europe, added: “Poland is an increasingly important automotive market, particularly as automakers expand into Eastern Europe, so this investment strengethens our position as the leading supplier of driveline technology to European manufacturers. I’m delighted to be part of this ground breaking ceremony and I look forward to returning to the site next year when the facility is complete and operational.

“Poland has enjoyed remarkable success since we started operating here nearly 20 years ago and today Olesnica is one of our most important plants in Europe. We have developed a progressive, forward thinking workforce that always looks towards continuous improvement, and this investment is testament to the hard work and dedication of the team over the past 20 years.“

He added: “This is not only a major boost to GKN Driveline, it also benefits the local economy. We plan to recruit and train up to 400 new employees over the next four years across a range of functions.”