MEXICO CITY - German automotive lighting and electrical component group Hella KG Hueck & Co. is building a plant in Mexico to supply complete car front-ends for Volkswagen. The 160,000-square-foot, just-in-time assembly unit, now being constructed near VW's Mexican plant at Puebla, will manufacture front-ends for the carmaker's Jetta A4 and new VW Concept 1 ``Beetle'' models beginning in January, said Jurgen Jordan, sales director at Hella's Mexican subsidiary Grupo Hemex.
In its first front-end project in Mexico, Hemex will use a total of 15 separate Mexican, Japanese and German parts suppliers, including three specifically making plastics components locally. No details about the firms were available.
The plant will have an initial annual output of 240,000 front units for the new Jetta in 1997 and 150,000 Beetle units from the car's launch in July 1997, Hemex confirmed.
The company said it may expand its front-end supply to another of its customers in Mexico, Chrysler Corp., which has a plant in Toluca, close to Mexico City.
Hella KG already is responsible for front-end assembly and just-in-time delivery for Volkswagen's current Golf model to the car builder's Mosel plant in Saxony, Germany.
There, Hella also was due to supply front-ends for the Passat model.
Grupo Hemex already operates two plants in Mexico: its subsidiary Electro Optica SA de CV produces internal lighting, taillights and headlamps at its Mexico City plant while another firm, Equipo Automotriz Hemex SA de CV makes mirrors, door handles, wheel hubcaps and locks in Guadalajara.
Existing customers in Mexico include Volkswagen, General Motors, Chrysler, Ford and Nissan, according to the Mexican company.