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Build & Sustainability

Engineer Saietta Group drives growth plans with Sunderland expansion

An engineering firm behind next generation electric vehicle power is creating jobs in a “landmark” Wearside expansion that is returning work to the UK from the Far East.

Saietta Group has moved into the former ZF factory at Rainton Bridge, Houghton-le-Spring.

Bosses say the 86,000sq ft plant will help the business meet a target of making 100,000 electric motors each year, which will include apparatus for modes of transport from scooters to buses.

They say the expansion – which has created roles for 39 ex-ZF staff – will also return e-motor production from China, providing “a boost for UK plc”.

Wicher (Vic) Kist, Saietta chief executive [pictured above with Catherine Auld, assistant director of economic development at Sunderland City Council], said: “This is a landmark achievement, providing us with a UK pilot production facility more than two years ahead of schedule, accelerating our capability to supply our innovation to clients in high volume globally.

“In addition to the lease on the large premises in Sunderland, we are 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 hotspot for electric powertrain innovation, and we are 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.”

Saietta’s move provides further momentum to Wearside’s ever-growing status in the global automotive market, which was boosted last year by approval of plans from Nissan and Envision AESC to create a“game-changing” electric vehicle battery factory on the area’s International Advanced Manufacturing Park.

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

“We have established Sunderland as a globally-recognised hub for engineering and advanced manufacturing, so to attract Saietta is further vindication of that.

“It has been brilliant to see ZF play its part in the city’s economy over the years and in supporting Saietta’s move here.

“The company has made an enormous contribution to the city, so it’s fitting they should play a positive part in their facility’s next chapter.”