Italian firm UFI Filters Group, a leader in filtration and thermal management, opened a 25 million euro (US$28.1 million) manufacturing plant in the Italo-Chinese Chongqing Industrial Park on June 6.

Giorgio Girondi, Chairman of the group, said the new site in Chongqing, UFI’s sixth plant in China, is based in the southwest to serve the growing original equipment manufactures’ hub there. Auto companies, including BAIC, Changan, Great Wall Motors and SGMW, have strong presence in Chongqing, creating huge demand for upstream products and services.

The choice of Chongqing is also a demonstration of the company’s commitment to the Belt and Road Initiative as the city is a strategic point on the route.

The group landed in China in 1982 and with first investments as a wholly foreign owned enterprise in 1996. It has six industrial sites, four in Shanghai, one in Changchun, and now another in Chongqing.

UFI established a research and development centre in Shanghai in 2000 with over 80 staff. The centre is working to reduce emissions and preserve the environment. The team has developed some important technology for new-energy vehicles, with key priorities on emissions and performance.

Sofima Automotive Filter (Chongqing) Co Ltd, the new plant of UFI, will provide a complete range of filters and air intake systems. Covering more than 17,000 square meters, it has nearly 14,000 square meters dedicated to production of filtering systems. The plant will employ more than 200 people within the year.

Rinaldo Facchini, CEO of UFI, said the company will bring the most advanced technology to Chongqing and offer the best solutions for customers.

“As part of UFI’s global strategy to provide a more efficient service, the new facility will serve the growing number of manufacturers area in the region,” Facchini said.

Luca Biagini, chief operation officer of UFI Asia Pacific, said China is a very important market for UFI despite a major setback in terms of auto sales last year.

“We are confident in China’s car market. As the country is already a leader in new energy vehicles that bodes well for future development,” Biagini said.

Founded in 1971, UFI serves a wide range of sectors from automotive, aerospace and marine to specialised industrial and customised hydraulic applications. UFI’s product range meets the needs of nearly all brands of car and motorcycle as well as commercial, heavy duty and agricultural vehicles.

Renowned for its innovation, UFI products and know-how are to be found in all kinds of vehicles from F1 cars to the European ExoMars spacecraft. Seven out of ten teams in F1 use UFI Filters. Over 100 UFI products are used during each race.