Changan Automotive, one of the top 4 Chinese automobile group enterprises, has completed the acquisition of a whole single 80,000 sq ft phase of Parkside offices at Birmingham Business Park, Solihull. The site will form the worldwide HQ of its Powertrain and Research & Development divisions, housing approximately 200 staff, and consolidating existing offices in Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire.
Changan chose Parkside offices at Birmingham Business Park as the most suitable location for its operations, having considered several different locations across the West Midlands, including Birmingham city centre and Coventry.
Changan, whose notable joint ventures include ChanganFord and ChanganSuzuki, has big plans for the UK market. Dr Xiaoyu Zhang, general manager of Changan UK, said: “We are committed to turning Changan into the world’s leading automotive company and establishing advanced technology R&D facilities across the globe is fundamental to our plans for growth. Our new site at Birmingham Business Park in the UK will become a world-class powertrain research centre.
“This new location will strengthen our commitment to the UK market by promoting the growth and sustainability of Changan UK, developing links with local universities and creating new jobs for the region.”
As well as staff relocating to the area, the move will create over 100 jobs, including many for skilled workers. With JLR announcing a further expansion at i54, highlighting the buoyancy of the region’s automotive industry, it is clear that required skill sets for these new positions will be well supported by the area’s highly talented local workforce.
Birmingham Airport now facilitates flights to and from China, a key factor in Changan’s decision to relocate to the area. As such, offices at Birmingham Business Park are an ideal choice, given its proximity to the airport, as well as Birmingham International train station.
Having purchased a whole single phase at Parkside, they now own buildings 3500, 3600, 3700, 3800 and 3900 Parkside. Currently occupying office space in 3500 and 3700, Changan have been granted planning permission to demolish and rebuild 3600 Parkside to create a new, state-of-the-art research and development centre, or “test cell”. The remaining units of 3800 and 3900 Parkside will provide Changan with readily available space for future expansions of their work force at the site.
The properties were sold by KWB who acted on behalf of their client, Moorfield Corporate Recovery Ltd. Of Moorfield, Senior Insolvency Administrator, Martyn Ewing said: “We are delighted to welcome such a significant name to the Parkside site. The nature of the operations that Changan is relocating has meant that their requirements were fairly specific; they needed a site that could be malleable, that could be adjusted to their current, unique needs and facilitate future changes in those requirements. KWB saw that Birmingham Business Park could provide the answer, so now, after a long time searching, Changan has found its home in the West Midlands.”
Changan UK set up its research and development centre, CAUK, in Nottingham Science Park, 5 years ago. The centre formed part of the company’s powertrain division and was one of four overseas research centres, with the remaining three located in Italy, Japan and the USA. Along with another research and development centre based at Fen End, Warwickshire, these UK operations will now be housed in the newly bought offices at Parkside.
KWB partner, Mark Robinson said: “This is fantastic news for Birmingham Business Park and the automotive industry in the West Midlands. After over two years of discussions with various stakeholders, we are delighted that Changan chose to consolidate its UK operations at Parkside offices at Birmingham Business Park, Solihull. This represents the start of a significant amount of investment from Changan on their future expansion, within Solihull.”