GUARAREMA, BRAZIL — Embracing the task of introducing multilayer, barrier fuel tanks in Brazil, Kautex Textron's local subsidiary has invested $9 million to acquire two blow molding lines and expand its plant in Guararema, near Sao Paulo.
The plant in April began producing and assembling components for the VW Golf and Audi A3 being assembled at the new VW/Audi facility in Sao Jose dos Pinhais. Vicente Perez-Lucerga, general manager of Kautex Textron do Brasil Ltda., said the company opted to produce the fuel tanks and filler necks in Guararema and ship them 340 miles to Sao Jose dos Pinhais.
``Due to the lack of specialized personnel in coextrusion blow molding technology in Brazil, we decided it would be more appropriate to maintain such operation at our base in Guararema,'' Perez said.
He added that the company will launch its own assembly unit in Sao Jose dos Pinhais by the end of this month.
The Guararema facility also is negotiating to supply barrier tanks to three other carmakers — one European and two non-European, Perez said.
The firm bought a Kautex H-50 machine that can make 190,000 fuel tanks per year, and a Krupp Kautex capable of producing 350,000 filler necks annually. Main and auxiliary equipment accounted for about 60-70 percent of the $9 million investment, Perez said. The company also added about 11,000 square feet to Kautex Textron's industrial unit, bringing total square footage to 65,600.
Kautex Textron's Brazilian subsidiary also is equipped to produce monolayer systems, with capacity for 125,000 fuel tanks and 850,000 filler necks annually. In 1998, the firm supplied about 60,000 fuel tank systems for the Ford Courier model produced in Brazil and the VW Polo Classic made in Argentina.
Kautex Textron of Windsor, Ontario, is a unit of Textron Automotive Co. Inc. in Troy, Mich.