Hi-tech wheelmaker relocating production from Russia to Latvia

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A manufacturer of state-of-the art automotive components used by companies including Tesla, Rimac and General Motors is relocating its production from Russia to Latvia, it said in a press release March 25. 

Rīga-headquartered SMW Wheels has contracts with record-breaking Rimac Automobili and Engler FF and is now working on new wheels for General Motors and on the next iteration of wheels for the renowned Tesla Roadster.

The original wheels for the famous space-travelling Roadster, scheduled for series production in 2022, were produced by SMW and developed in collaboration with Tesla. The prototype vehicle was launched into space and is now orbiting the Sun.

“Despite the current difficult times, when companies face stress in overcoming pandemic-related challenges, we have big plans for continued growth in 2021 and beyond,” said Marks Lisnanskis, Chairman of SMW Group.

The growing demand for high-tech lightweight wheels is becoming increasingly important for electric vehicles and sales of magnesium wheels and various 3D-printed components produced by SMW Wheels have increased by over 50% in 2020, the company said.

“Lighter components deliver a reduction of carbon emissions in old-fashioned motor vehicles. And they increase range between charges in electric vehicles. Wheels have a greater effect than other parts, whereas their weight can be decreased by more than 20%, and in some cases, by 50%. This can only be accomplished with magnesium, which is 33% lighter than aluminium in terms of density,” said Lisnanskis.

SMW said it is in the process of transferring production from Russia to Latvia, and the holding company SMW Group is preparing to list its shares on the Nasdaq First North stock exchange this year to fuel the company’s expansion plans, which include a new production facility in Latvia’s capital and further moves into the aerospace industry by producing components for Bombardier Aerospace, Thales and others. Its proprietary alloy system, Almascan, containing scandium, is used for spacecraft parts.

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