Saietta accelerates growth with a new manufacturing facility in Sunderland

Saietta Group plc (Saietta), specialists in high-tech advanced e-mobility powertrains, has accelerated its growth plans by taking on a manufacturing facility in Sunderland, the former base of ZF Automotive UK Limited (ZF).

The Saietta Group vision is to play a leading role in cleaning up the air in large cities around the globe by quickly deploying its innovative electric drive technology from scooters to buses.

A key enabler in achieving this vision is investing significantly into state-of-the-art production facilities, equipment, processes and people. This agreement will enable Saietta to meet its stated objective of establishing a UK pilot production facility significantly ahead of its 2024 target. The number of motors produced will build in a series of phases over time with the first stage growing to a capacity of 100,000 units per annum.

The Sunderland plant is a specialised automotive electric motor manufacturing facility of 86,000 square feet with a distinguished history of manufacturing over 20 million electric motors for a range of automotive applications since 1999. Saietta has purchased a total of four motor production lines and an electronic circuit board production line and a considerable amount of this equipment can be re-purposed to meet the needs of Saietta’s customers going forward.

Saietta intends to use its new facility to scale up the production of its proprietary AFT (axial-flux technology) motors for multiple applications. Saietta will also locate the manufacture of its proven e-Axle commercial vehicle drivetrain technology in Sunderland which was previously manufactured in China, creating the potential for more green-technology manufacturing jobs in the UK.

Wicher (Vic) Kist, Chief Executive of Saietta, commented: “This is a landmark achievement for Saietta providing us with a UK production facility more than two years ahead of schedule, further speeding up 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 hot-spot 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. Indeed, it’s our stated ambition to make this plant an eMotor assembly role model: fully ESG compliant and carbon neutral,” Vic added.

Saietta will offer roles to former ZF personnel with a range of critical skills including fabrication, engineering, IT, quality control, finance and process management. The inherent capability of this team in the efficient and timely fabrication and certification of electric motors for automotive applications will be extremely valuable and scalable – as is the Sunderland factory’s established supply and logistics chain.

“I want to thank Sunderland City Council and ZF Automotive for their support and to welcome our new employees in the North East. I look forward to working with the new team to make this facility a key building block in Saietta’s continued growth,” Vic added.

Ian Constance, Chief Executive of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, said: “I’m delighted to see Saietta taking over this facility with plans to manufacture some of the most advanced electric motor technology, creating highly skilled jobs and retaining talent in the sector. This is yet more proof that the UK is a leader in electric vehicle innovation and is now ready to move to large-scale production and commercialisation of UK-developed technology.”

Peter McIntyre, executive director of city development at Sunderland City Council, added: “This is a fantastic announcement for Sunderland, that will secure jobs for people from the city and further afield.

“We have established Sunderland as a globally recognised hub for engineering and advanced manufacturing, and to attract Saietta is further vindication of that. We’re delighted to have been able to support Saietta with its move into Sunderland and look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength.”