Johnson Controls to build Automotive Battery plant in China image

Johnson Controls, the global company offering products and services to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings, automotive batteries and interior systems for vehicles, on Wednesday announced plans to build a new Chinese factory to produce car batteries, including advanced batteries that help boost fuel economy.

The facility will supply automakers and the aftermarket in China with maintenance-free lead-acid starter batteries and advanced batteries for Start-Stop vehicles.

“This plant demonstrates our long-term commitment to the rapidly growing automotive industry in China,” said Alex Molinaroli, president of Glendale-based Johnson Controls power solutions business.

“We are forecasting 25 million in annual new car sales in China by 2015. This plant is a further indication of the strategic importance of this market for Johnson Controls.”

Johnson Controls expects to start building the Tianjin plant between 2012 and the first half of next year. The project is targeted to start in late 2014. The Tianjin plant will produce more than 6 million batteries annually at full capacity.

Shares of Johnson Controls added 84 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $29.52 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $24.29 to $42.92.

China’s nationwide vehicle sales rose just 2.5 per cent to 18.51 million units in 2011, compared with an annual increase of more than 32 per cent in 2010.

China’s economy has also started to slow with growth of 8.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, its slowest pace in nearly three years, affecting industries like property and construction.