Ballymena manufacturing pioneer, the Wrights Group has underlined its global ambitions with the opening of a new plant targeting the emerging Indian market.
Senior staff from Wrightbus International have attended an event in the city of Chennai held in conjunction with Daimler (India Commercial Vehicles) to celebrate the opening of their bus body plant and officially premiere a range of buses designed and manufactured to meet the particular specifications of the growing Indian market.
The new plant has a capacity to produce 1,500 vehicles a year for the Indian market and currently employs 140 local workers, a number that is set to increase rapidly as bus production gets underway.
The R&D of the new product range was carried out at Wrights Group headquarters in Ballymena with the support of Invest Northern Ireland, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
“India is a huge emerging market with massive potential,” said Group chairman and CEO Mark Nodder.
“Having a presence on the ground in the territory and a bus range design specifically for the Indian market, will help sustain employment for the current workforce of 130 Wrightbus International employees based at Group headquarters in Northern Ireland.
“The opening of this assembly plant is a proactive step towards international expansion that will impact positively on Wrights Group performance and the local economy.”
Welcoming the development, Enterprise Minister Johnathan Bell MLA, said: “This new assembly plant in India is a milestone achievement for Wrightbus and follows extensive market research over the past six years.”
As well as support with developing its new product for the Indian market, he said the firm had benefited from advice and practical support from Invest NI experts to link up with Daimler.
“Wrightbus is among Northern Ireland’s leading export businesses and this market offers exciting opportunities for those ambitious companies prepared to make the necessary long-term commitment and deploy the necessary financial and staff resources to do worthwhile international business.
This investment will be an important catalyst in driving the company’s international growth strategy and enhance its already valuable contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.”