MEXICO CITY (Updated Feb. 10, 12 p.m. ET) — Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. is investing $100 million in a new 215,000 square foot plant in central Mexico to produce automotive headlamps and rear lighting.
Between 25-35 percent of the investment will be “relative to plastic injection molding,” Ignacio Moreno, a member of Hella Lighting’s executive board and CEO of Hella Lighting North & South America, told Plastics News on Feb. 10.
The facility in Irapuato, 260 miles northwest of Mexico City, is scheduled to open in June 2013. It will employ 800 and have an annual capacity of about 1.2 million headlamps and 1.5 million rear combination lamps, Hella said in a news release.
The company supplies all the major automakers in the region, including Nissan, Volkswagen, BMW, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, from Mexico, where it employs 2,500, Moreno said.
The new manufacturing facilities will increase Hella’s annual production capacity in the Americas for headlamps from 3.7 million to 4.9 million. Production capacity for rear combination lamps will grow from 2.5 million to 4 million, the German company added.
According to Moreno, Mexico is the only country in the Americas where Hella has manufacturing operations. It has two plants in Guadalajara, western Mexico, and a third in the Mexico City metropolitan area.
The company does much of its own injection molding in Mexico in house, Moreno said, using KraussMaffei technology to a large degree. But it also has major suppliers, such as GD Components de México SA de CV, of Cuernavaca, Morelos state, and an injection molding unit of Fomento Económico Mexicano SAB de CV (Femsa) in the state of San Luis Potosí.
The company is also building a design and development center in Guadalajara, which will start operating in April, Moreno said. It already has a design and development center in Plymouth, Mich.
“We’re expanding in Mexico to meet a rapidly growing demand for our products from our customers in Mexico and elsewhere throughout the Americas,” said Moreno.
He added that the company’s production sites in Guadalajara and Irapuato will serve as Hella’s primary manufacturing facilities for the Americas and supply customers throughout the world as well.
“Our new plant in Irapuato is strategically located in one of Mexico’s primary automotive regions,” Moreno noted. “Irapuato provides us with easy access to many of our OEM customers, as well as to borders and main ports.”
He said that Hella “sees tremendous growth potential in the Americas. Additional production capacity and strong product development teams in Plymouth and Guadalajara will allow us to take advantage of future growth opportunities in the region and further increase the levels of support we provide to our customers.”