New CLAAS site unveiled at Trangé
Trangé, France. After 9 months of work, the CLAAS Group's new Tractor Testing and Validation Centre has opened at Trangé near Le Mans. The official opening took place on Friday 25th May 2012, and was attended by Dr. Patrick Claas, CLAAS Shareholder, Lothar Kriszun and Dr. Hermann Garbers, members of the Group's Management, as well as economic and political figures from the local area.
Due to its location close to the CLAAS tractor assembly plant in Le Mans, this facility will encourage important synergies, the sharing of skills and cooperation between CLAAS Tractor's Product Development, Industrialisation and After-Sales departments. Although the site is private, it is still very much outward-facing, and partnerships have already been signed with more than twenty local farmers. Capitalising on their proximity, relations have been forged with the Université du Maine, the acoustics laboratory, the agricultural colleges, the college of surveyors and the automotive institute. This will enable CLAAS Tractor to continue to play an important role in energising industry in the Sarthe region. "With this investment in the future of our tractors, CLAAS is once again affirming its confidence in France, and in particular Le Mans, as an economically viable location" explained Lothar Kriszun, CEO of CLAAS Tractor. This centre has a testing zone which can process up to 80 tractors at any one time, larger prototype development workshops and more efficient test benches (late 2012/early 2013).
Following major investment in the new Cab assembly line (€5 million) in 2008, and the new Painting Unit in 2010 (€10 million), the new Testing and Validation Centre represents a new era in the development of CLAAS tractors. It will provide a further step on the road to excellence and an essential stage in our international development strategy (already 70% of tractors produced at Le Mans are exported).
This will take CLAAS's total investment in new product development since 2003 to 400 million euros and the R&D and Projects workforce has significantly increased over the same period. The number of permanent employees in the R&D and Projects departments has also risen by 80%. Teams are currently involved in a "Product Development Excellence" programme designed to enable them to provide efficient support as part of the Tractors strategy.
In addition to these initiatives, €10 million has just been invested in the new Paint Unit at Usines CLAAS France in Woippy, demonstrating the scale of the CLAAS Group's commitment to France.
At the start of June 2012, more than 30 employees will join the Testing and Validation Centre in Trangé.
In addition to providing jobs, the site will also serve as a centre for creativity and progress for CLAAS Tractor employees, as part of an operational improvement campaign which will aim to increase customer satisfaction.
CLAAS AXION 900 in front of the new Tractor testing & Validation Centre
Baptiste Ligot, head of the the new Testing & Validation Centre