Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell has praised Ballymena bus builder Wrights Group Ltd for its innovative approach to manufacturing and design.
Speaking following a visit to the Wrightbus factory, Jonathan Bell said: “Wrightbus has become synonymous with innovation, excellence and cutting edge research and development.
“The Ballymena-built iconic ‘New Routemaster Bus’ is instantly recognisable right around the world. As well as featuring in the James Bond movie ‘Skyfall’, it has quite rightly been used as the flagship symbol of the ‘Great’ campaign, advertising all that is good about industry in GB and Northern Ireland. As well as employing almost 2,000 people across the Group, Wrights is strategically important to the local supply chain, sourcing around £40m per annum from Northern Ireland companies.”
Wrightbus manufactures buses and mass transit vehicles for all sectors of the market, and had pioneered the application of hybrid-electric and zero emission drivelines to reduce fuel consumption and improve air quality.
Jonathan Bell added: “By continually investing in its future, Wrightbus has ensured that it remains a market leader and this is paying dividends in terms of establishing the firm as a significant player across a range of global export markets, including Hong Kong, Singapore and India.
“I have been hugely impressed by what I have seen today on the factory floor and by what I have heard from management about the company’s plans for the future. Success is achieved by constantly looking ahead and seeking out new opportunities. The innovative products that are created in Northern Ireland by Wrights Group and are in demand right across the world, make it a shining example of why research and development are so important to our economy.”
Commenting on the visit Chairman and CEO of Wrights Group, Mark Nodder said: “We are very pleased to host Minister Bell at Wrightbus today. These are challenging times for manufacturers in the local economy, and the visit is much appreciated. Wrights Group has an ambitious vision of growth in the future, and the support of the DETI Minister and Invest NI is very welcome.”