By Klaus-Dieter FlÃ¶recke
WEINHEIM, Germany -- Freudenberg will expand its production in eastern Europe to defend itself against competition from Chinese suppliers.
"It is our strategic goal to continue our path toward eastern Europe," Chairman JÃ¶rg Sost said.
Sost said that among reasons for expanding eastward are price pressure from customers and the increasing number of exports from Chinese suppliers.
Low wages and more flexible working hours than in western Europe -- specifically in regard to weekend work -- were other advantages.
Freudenberg, a sealing and vibration engineering specialist, has plants in Romania, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Hungary.
Sost said large system suppliers also might withdraw orders if Freudenberg does not move a certain percentage of its production to low-wage countries.