During a meeting with Chinese journalists at the Beijing Auto Show, Eagle Ottawa’s Chief Executive Jerry Sumpter unveiled plans for a $30 million investment in the supplier’s Chinese operations, including the construction of a third manufacturing facility, the opening of two new R&D centers and the addition of more than 400 jobs by 2018. This announcement brings Eagle Ottawa’s total investment in its China leather operations to more than $100 million to-date.

“Since our first plant opened in 2005, Eagle Ottawa has been dedicated to understanding the needs of the Chinese market and delivering the promise of luxury and status that leather interiors convey,” said Sumpter. “The Chinese consumers are speaking loudly and they favor the beautiful attributes that leather brings into a vehicle. Our mission, therefore, is to expand our current capabilities and bring new innovation, new technology and new products that speak directly to the needs of the Chinese market.”

Eagle Ottawa forecasts the overall Chinese automotive leather market will grow from current levels of $700 million to over $1.2 billion in the next 5 years.  During that time, Eagle Ottawa’s market share will outpace that growth, moving from 17% today to over 28% in 2018.

“We aren’t simply along for the ride,” noted Sumpter. “Eagle Ottawa is positioning itself to lead the supply of this growth in leather demand by having the best infrastructure, technology and people in place to deliver innovative products and customised designs that are demanded by the Chinese consumer.”

As part of the investment and growth strategy, Eagle Ottawa introduced two new products developed specifically with the Chinese market in mind: a specialty leather designed to meet new governmental standards for cabin air quality, and a perforation option that allows for customised designs uniquely inspired by the region.