MEXICO CITY — Mattel Inc. is ready to open a third plant in Mexico, with production scheduled to start Nov. 23. The new plant is in Escobedo, an industrial area 10 miles from Monterrey, Mexico.
The plant will do injection and blow molding, plus assembly of Fisher-Price Inc. roller skates, spokesman Sean Fitzgerald said Nov. 11 by telephone from corporate headquarters in El Segundo, Calif.
``Production is to begin by the end of the month, and the building will be finished by the end of year,'' Fitzgerald said.
The plant will feature 80 processing machines — about 68 injection presses and 12 blow molding machines, according to a source who asked not to be identified. The facility also will have tool-repair capability.
The plant will start with 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space, but is being built using a modular concept that permits easy expansion, Fitzgerald said.
The company did not disclose the cost of the investment. However, a Mexico City newspaper reported Oct. 24 that, in a meeting with Mexican government and industry leaders, Mattel international trade director Eduardo Duran estimated the investment at $30 million.
Fitzgerald was careful to emphasize that Mattel was not moving production to Mexico from existing plants elsewhere, such as in the United States.
``This is a unique facility designed to handle this type of product,'' he said.
The unidentified source said the firm was bringing work in-house that had been performed by independent manufacturers in China. The move was designed to reduce transportation costs.
``Even though per-unit cost is lower in China, mainly due to labor costs, with transport it comes out higher,'' he said.
The plant will be built in two phases, with the second phase to begin in three or four years, depending on demand, the source said. The plant will be called Mattel Manufactura de Monterrey SA de CV.
The second phase will double manufacturing space.
Mattel already has a plant in Tijuana and one in Monterrey.
The 12-year-old Monterrey plant, Montoi SA de CV, makes Mattel's Barbie, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels and Power Wheels products. That facility has 2,500 employees.