Frankfurt, Germany – Johnson Controls is investing US$100 million to build a start-stop vehicle battery plant in China. The company said it is reacting to increasing global demand for high-quality automotive batteries for start-stop technology, which shuts off the vehicle’s engine at idle.

The new plant will supply global and local automakers in Asia and is expected to start production early in 2013. Johnson Controls plans to produce an annual capacity of 2.4 million start-stop batteries by 2015 through its operations in China.

“We project that China will continue to be the fastest-growing market for automobiles through the end of this decade,” said Kim Metcalf-Kupres, vice-president of strategy, sales and marketing. “At the same time, interest in the environment and more energy-efficient vehicles is driving many of our OE customers to add start-stop vehicles to their fleets. We are working closely with our customers globally to ensure they receive the same levels of performance and reliable quality everywhere as we establish regional capacity in line with growing demand.”

The company said it anticipates the market for start-stop vehicles will grow to 35 million globally by 2015 and to support the rapid growth, is investing $520 million worldwide over the next four years in additional production capacity for such batteries. This includes $280 million in Germany, an additional $140 million in the U.S. and $100 million in China. Johnson Controls is currently the leading supplier of start-stop batteries in Europe through its Varta brand.

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