German car components manufacturer Leopold Kostal GmbH. is expanding production in the Balkans with the opening of a third operation in Bulgaria this month (August).
Kostal Bulgaria Automotive, a group subsidiary, was set to launch the new facility producing a range of electronic and electrical car parts in the southern Bulgarian town of Pazardzhik at the start of the month.
A formal inauguration of the newest plant is set to be attended by a number national officials, headed by Prime Minister Boyco Borisov along with Kostal group chief executive Andreas Kostal and Kostal Bulgaria Automotive general manager Johan Grabowski.
The company already runs two production plants for electronic components further south in Smolyan, close to the border with Greece. The first of these units opened in 2011 and employs 750 while a second plant, launched there in December 2015, was set to employ a 100 strong workforce by the end of last year.
Additional capacity was required at Pazardzhik to satisfy growing demand from automotive customers across Europe. The new plant is reported to be employing around 500.
Major vehicle manufacturers served by Kostal include Volkswagen, Ford, Fiat, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini.
Kostal’s Bulgarian operations are part of the group’s Automotive Electrical Systems division, the largest of Kostal’s four businesses. It specialises in manufacturing mechatronic modules, switches and switch panels and electronic control units for vehicles.
Apart from production halls in Smolyan and Pazardzhik, the Bulgarian offshoot has research and development facilities with a further R&D unit in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.
In October 2016, Kostal saw further expansion in south eastern Europe with the start up of a new plant in Struga in southern Macedonia. The facility is due to create around 1,000 jobs.
Kostal group, an old established family-owned business founded in 1912, is based in Lüdenscheid in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Today it operates 46 production units in 21 countries around the world.