Japanese suppliers in Central and Eastern Europe: Meeting demand with new plants and acquisitions

Adding capacity for parts and materials, globalizing manufacturing sites



Map of automobile plants in Central and Eastern Europe (Click to open site map)
Russian automobile plant map / Turkey automobile plant map

  According to LMC Automotive’s statistics, in 2019 the 17 countries of Western Europe experienced 0.8% growth in light vehicle sales over the previous year to 16.28 million units but the 15 countries of Central and Eastern Europe (including Turkey and Russia) saw light vehicles sales decline by 2.7% year-over-year to 4.12 million units. Cumulative light vehicle sales for the period January through November 2020 decreased 25.7% y/y in Western Europe to 11.13 million units due to the impact of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic. Similarly in Central and Eastern Europe, sales fell by 6.4% y/y to 3.45 million units.

  In spite of this situation, Japanese automotive component suppliers have responded to increasing orders from European vehicle manufacturers and are going ahead with the planning of construction and starting of operations at new plants in Central and Eastern Europe, enhancing facilities, and securing production frameworks through acquisition. In Hungary, with the increasing European demand for electrified vehicles including EVs (electric vehicles), GS Yuasa started operations at a new lithium-ion battery plant and Toray is building new production facilities for separator films for lithium-ion batteries. Panasonic began production of automotive film capacitors in Slovakia, and Nidec announced plans to build a new EV drive motor plant in Serbia.

  In actions related to the increasing demand for components and materials from each of the automotive OEMs to comply with environmental and fuel consumption standards and the trend toward weight reduction, Cataler is operating a new automotive exhaust gas catalyst plant in the Czech Republic and G-TEKT is manufacturing aluminum body components at a new plant in Slovakia. Chemical manufacturers are also very active: Teijin acquired an automotive composite material components supplier in the Czech Republic, Sumitomo Chemical acquired a local resin compound manufacturer in Turkey, and in Russia, Mitsui Chemicals will build a plant to produce raw materials for polyurethane foam which is used in applications such as insulation for automobiles

  In addition, Nippon Seiki began regular production of head-up displays at its subsidiary in Poland. Alpha will increase the production capacity at its key plant in the Czech Republic while at the same time it acquired a components painting supplier in Slovakia as it plans to enter the European door handle business as soon as possible.


  The table below shows recent activities of Japanese suppliers in Central and Eastern Europe. (Activities for about 1.5 years from May 2019.)

Activities of Japanese suppliers in Central and Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe

New plant construction and acquisitions

Alpha: Acquires SPPP group company in Slovakia and will enter the door handle business.
Kasai Kogyo: Started production in September 2019 at new plant in Slovakia manufacturing products including door trims and body side trims. 
・Cataler: Operations began at new Czech automotive exhaust gas catalyst plant in 2020.
GS Yuasa: Plant for lithium-ion batteries for engine starting began operations in Hungary; in the future will target business for application to autonomous driving systems.
G-TEKT: Aluminum body components plant in operation since September 2019 in Slovakia.
・Teijin: Acquisition of Czech automotive composite material components supplier.
Toyo Tire: Building its first European tire plant in Serbia, operations planned to start in 2022.
Nichirin: Will outsource production of automotive hoses from its Spanish subsidiary to a local company in Bulgaria.
Nippon Seiki: Starting production of head-up displays at subsidiary in Poland from the end of 2020.
Nidec: Plans to build EV drive motor plant in Serbia, aiming for start of production in 2023.
Panasonic: Began production of automotive film capacitors at its Slovakia plant in April 2019.

Enhancement of production capacity and production systems

Alpha: Expanding production capacity at Czech key components plant to deal with diversification of keys required for theft prevention.
・Kuraray: Expanding production capacity of interlayer film for laminated glass in Czech Republic.
・GMB: Water pump production transferred to new water pump plant in Romania, operations to begin in 2020. Casting and machining operations in-house.
・SIIX: Added production lines at plant in Hungary, expanding EMS (electronics manufacturing services) business of mounting components on in-vehicle printed circuit boards.
・Toray: Building production facilities in Hungary for battery separator films for lithium-ion batteries.
Bridgestone: Expansion of passenger car tire plant in Hungary, adding a warehouse.

New plant construction ・Sumitomo Chemical: Acquisition of resin compound manufacturer in Turkey and strengthening business organization.

New plant construction ・Mitsui Chemicals: Construction of plant for the production of raw materials for automotive polyurethane foam insulation.
Business withdrawal Unipres: Dissolution of local subsidiary handling stamped parts for automotive bodies.


Related reports:
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Automotive Industry (Nov. 2020)
Electric Powertrain Market Forecast in Major Countries (Oct. 2020)
European Market: Accelerating electrification through government measures (Jul. 2020)

Overseas business activities of Japanese suppliers:
  China: Strengthening production and development of parts for NEVs (Oct. 2020)
  East China: Increasing Capacity for NEV Market (Sep. 2020)
  ASEAN: Components and materials for electrification on the rise (Aug. 2020)
  Western Europe: Responding to advancements in CASE technologies (Apr. 2020)
  India: Responding to stricter emission regulations and EV policy (Nov. 2019)
  U.S. and Canada: Expanding CASE business and local collaboration (Sep. 2019)
  Central and Eastern Europe: Responding to orders from European OEMs (Jun. 2019)
  Mexico: Focusing on Changes to NAFTA (Oct. 2018)


This report is for paid members only. Remaining 4 chapters remaining.
Free membership registration allows you to read the rest of the article for a limited time.