MEXICO CITY — Campco de Mexico SA de CV, the parts supplier in which Blue Water Plastics Inc. of Marysville, Mich., has a 40 percent stake, is considering a new phase of expansion, general director Javier Terrazas said.
In particular, Terrazas is eyeing the fast-growing industrial corridor near Saltillo, Mexico, more than 500 miles north of Campco's current base in Tultitl n, in the Mexico City metropolitan area.
``We haven't taken any decision yet,'' said Terrazas in a Feb. 12 interview at the Plastimagen trade show in Mexico City. ``In fact there's not even a firm project, but a plant in Saltillo would make a lot of sense.''
Terrazas points to the growth of the auto industry in the Saltillo region, where DaimlerChrysler Ag, General Motors Corp. and seat maker Lear Corp. of Southfield, Mich. — all Campco customers — have plants. In addition, the area has a wide range of domestic appliance and electronics manufacturers who have set up under the maquiladora program.
Terrazas, who joined Campco in August from Mexican truck and bus maker Grupo Dina SA de CV, has wasted little time in stamping his mark on the U.S.-Mexican joint venture. He already has pared the work force to 340 from 371.
``The cuts mainly affected salaried staff,'' said sales manager Javier Perez, who joined Campco from adhesives maker Lord Corp. just two weeks after Terrazas took the reins. ``There was simply too much duplication of effort in some areas.''
Readjustments of personnel apart, expansion already has paid off in substantially increased sales for Campco, which is 60 percent owned by Mexico's Zapata Envases SA de CV.
Campco recently expanded its Tultitlan complex, at a cost of some $5 million, from 81,000 to 129,000 square feet, and added 10 new Milacron injection presses with clamping forces of 500-1,500 tons. And, another 1,500-ton press is to be added soon, added Terrazas.
As the expansion went on, sales more than doubled, from $7.3 million in 1997 to $15 million in 1998. This year, Perez has his sights set on $17 million to $19 million.
The Tultitlan facility currently has 24 injection presses, ranging from 85-1,500 tons. Injection molding accounts for 63 percent of sales, extrusion 17 percent and vacuum forming 20 percent. Perez said Campco is considering adding coextrusion capabilities.
The single most important contract is for the interior trim of Volkswagen's new Beetle, which is manufactured in Puebla, Mexico. Perez estimates the deal is worth $3 million to $4 million a year, and said VW plans in July to boost production from 600-800 Beetles per day.
Other major customers include DaimlerChrysler (covers and splash shields), GM (interior trim and fuel-tank covers), Ford (splash shields, fuel-tank covers and canisters), Nissan (splash shields, fan shrouds and canisters) and Lear (interior trim for the Chrysler T300).
When Chrysler begins production of its Spyder sports car in Toluca, Mexico — perhaps early next year — Campco will provide 14 injection molded parts for it, said Perez.
While Campco also tackles non-automotive business, it is very selective about such work.
``We only take on non-auto makers if they can guarantee us about four years of work,'' Perez said. ``Otherwise, it's not worth our while.''