HARTLEPOOL, ENGLAND — Stadium Plastics, the fast-expanding British auto parts injection molder, is gearing up to tackle one of its biggest-ever contracts — a deal for £5 million ($8 million) a year to supply parts for the new Rover Mini car.
Chief Executive Officer John Pearson said the company needs to expand its molding capacity to handle the contract. Stadium expects to spend about £600,000 ($972,000) to buy six new, 350-ton injection presses this year.
Pearson plans to talk to its traditional suppliers of machines in that range: Krauss-Maffei, Stork and Negri-Bossi. The molder will make the parts at its Hartlepool and Hinckley, England, plants.
Stadium plans to use a recently installed gas injection molding system at Hartlepool to improve the quality and finish of some of the Mini parts, Pearson said.
The molder, part of electronics and plastics group Stadium Group plc of Hartlepool, already is developing molds, some built in-house, for the Mini, which is scheduled to go into production in the fourth quarter of 2000.
Meanwhile, Stadium is tooling up to mold similar interior components for an existing customer, Nissan. Worth about £1 million ($1.62 million) per year, this deal is to supply the new model Almera car, to be launched at Nissan's works in Sunderland, England, at the beginning of 2000.
Stadium officials also predicted they soon will sign fresh deals worth between £2 million and £3 million ($3.2 million to $6.5 million) a year to supply parts to completely new customers.
In the case of the Mini, Stadium has signed contracts with Tier 1 suppliers Johnson Controls Inc. and Magna International Inc. It will mold a range of ABS and polypropylene seat and interior- trim parts.
The rush of auto parts business even may prompt Stadium to expand production space at its Quest plant at Chingford, near London, which now is dedicated chiefly to injection and blow molding baby-care and nursery products.
Stadium Group had faced reduced demand in Britain for automotive components in the second half of last year. But Pearson said Stadium is ``going full-steam ahead'' with the new Mini parts contracts and Rover is heavily committed through tooling, design and development work to this project.