Garden State Tanning Inc, makers of automotive leather, have changed their name to GST AutoLeather Inc. The company say that the new name will position them for a future that will include an increase in production in China. ‘GST AutoLeather represents the kind of progressive and innovative identity that we want to carry forward in the 21st century’&bsquo; said Mark D Lecher, president and chief operating officer.

The new name also reflects the fact that the company’s ties with Garden State, New Jersey, ended in 2000 when their former owner US Industries Inc spun-off a group of companies, including Garden State Tanning.

Lecher added that he expects the Chinese-made leather to be used principally in cars manufactured in China, where big-name companies such as Honda, GM, Toyota, Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz are all opening or planning to open production facilities. Lecher also confirmed that employment in the US will not be affected.

The name change also follows the company’s announcement in late October that they have joined forces with two Chinese companies, the Richina Group and Shanghai Light Industry Holdings, to build an automotive finishing plant in Shanghai. The plant will produce automotive leathers for Chinese and international car manufacturers and is expected to reach its full capacity of 50 million sq ft per year by 2006.

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