Plant Production is slated to begin next month at Globe Motors Inc.'s first European facility, located in Vila do Conde, Portugal. Globe Motors, a Dayton, Ohio-based manufacturer of miniature motors and actuators for aerospace, defense and automotive applications, has invested 46 million euros (US$44.8 million) to retrofit a 48,438-square-foot building to accommodate production lines and office space. At full production, the plant will have a manufacturing capacity of about 2.5 million motors per year, reports Antonio Clemencio, managing director of Globe Motors in Portugal. Globe Motors will produce electric motors for automotive power steering systems in Vila do Conde. By 2005, the plant expects to employ about 300 workers. Recruitment of workers began earlier this year. Corporate Strategy Globe Motors has several reasons to place a plant in Europe -- and to select Portugal as its site. One consideration is that Portugal is a known entity to Snecma, Globe Motors' Paris-based parent company. In Portugal, Snecma already operates two successful plants, manufacturing wire harnesses and connectors. For Globe Motors, moving closer to its customers in Europe also was important. The continent is a major market for electrical-assisted power steering. Serving European customers from a European base-rather than producing motors in the United States and exporting them, as is currently done-will improve service and reduce response time and cost. Portugal helped make it worth Globe Motors' while to locate on the Iberian peninsula. Portugal's Economic Operational Program is backing Global Motor's project by providing about $7.6 million in financial incentives, in addition to fiscal and training assistance. And, while Clemencio does not cite it specifically as a determining factor in the selection of its plant site, Portugal is said by its government to have the lowest operating costs in the 15-nation European Union. Community A small resort town in northwest Portugal, Vila do Conde is known for lace-making and chocolate. It is located at the mouth of the Ave River and has an active fishing port. For Globe Motors, Vila do Conde's proximity to Porto, Portugal's second-largest city after Lisbon, is an attraction. Vila do Conde is located about three miles from Porto International Airport and just slightly farther away from one of the country's primary ports. The community also is served by two highways that connect it to Spain and other points in Europe. Locations profiles selected siting and facility strategies by manufacturing companies. Send submissions to Senior Editor John S. McClenahen at [email protected].