MEXICO CITY - Top Mexican bus and truck manufacturer Consorcio G Grupo Dina SA de CV has begun a shutdown of as long as 60 working days at its three plants, including its plastics parts units. The move reflects the sorry state of Mexico's automotive market in the wake of the country's economic crisis, in particular for heavy vehicles. Domestic sales of buses and trucks fell 84.8 percent in January against the same month in 1994, reports the national heavy-vehicle producers association, Anpact.
The closure began after the firm's conclusion Feb. 6 of weeks of bargaining with its union to renew an agreement on pay and conditions. The union had threatened to strike.
In line with the Mexican government's emergency economic recovery plan, management and union settled for a 7 percent increase for 1995 with a further 3 percent based on productivity.
Plants involved are the trucks division Dina Camiones; Dina Autobuses, the coach and bus producer; and two sections producing plastics auto parts, Pl sticos Automotrices SA and Dina Composites SA. All are at theDina complex at Ciudad Sahag£n, Mexico.
Talks continue over a possible reduction of the work force and contract revisions at Dina's hard-hit bus division. Dina wants to ensure penetration with its new urban buses, the Citus and Quadro.
Dina is pushing to increase its vehicle exports. It has announced plans to export buses to the United States in 1995 through its newly acquired U.S. subsidiary, Motor Coach Industries International. It also hopes to increase truck exports to Latin America.
The shutdown at Pl sticos Automotrices is a mixed blessing - although it will halt sales, it also will allow the firm to concentrate on preparing for a special parts project for Chrysler in Mexico, said Pl sticos Auto-motrices projects and purchasing manager Gabriel Toscana.
Dina has spent US$10 million during the past three years gearing up to produce sheet molding compound hoods and deck lids for a new Chrysler car, as yet without a commercial name. The 1996 model is aimed mainly at North America and Europe, with a few for Mexico, he said.
``Right now, the investment's 70 percent complete. We still need to receive some more capital equipment. Everything needs to be in place by March,'' he said.
Mexico's economic crisis has caused Pl sticos Automotrices to move from captive parts production toward custom manufacturing. Last year, Dina consumed internally about 70 percent of the parts it produced, with the balance going to outside customers. But that ratio should be reversed this year, according to Toscana.
The plant also makes subway train seats for Canadian railroad car builder Bombardier.
With the auto market slump, Dina Composites, which employs 100, is hiring workers to expand custom work, including a contract with Telefonos de Mexico.