TI Automotive Systems plans to build a factory in Georgia later this year to blow mold fuel tanks for customers in the region while also ramping up production of the next generation of fuel pumps.
Worldwide, the fuel system supplier booked $1 billion in new business last year with a cross section of global automakers, said Brian Lindsay, managing director for TI's global fuel systems group, during an April 29 news conference in Auburn Hills.
``Our portfolio of customers gives us the ability to be in different pockets of growth in different regions of the world,'' Lindsay said.
The board of directors for Oxford, England-registered TI - with global headquarters in Warren, Mich. - still must give final approval for the new tank plant, executives noted. The firm won new business with Germany's BMW AG - with an assembly plant in Spartanburg, S.C. - and South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co., which is building a new assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala., prompting a consideration for work in the southeastern United States.
More details will be released once the company has a formal go-ahead for construction, expected in a few months.
The plan is for TI to begin construction on its new facility in an unspecified location in Georgia later this year. Prototype production will begin in 2005, with the site able to turn out standard multilayer blow molded tanks and the company's ``ship in a bottle'' system, which places the fuel pump, gauges and some other components inside the tank to help lower emission levels.
TI currently makes SIB tank systems in Europe and as well as at its Ossian, Ind., plant for a low-volume North American car. Production at the new plant will depend on customer needs for additional emissions control.
``A key driver [in tank technology] has been regulations in environmental concerns,'' said Manouchehr Kambakhsh, vice president of global advanced engineering.
The new dual-channel fuel pump developed by TI, meanwhile, targets improved pump operations, which can improve overall vehicle performance. The pump boosts efficiency to at least 25 percent, compared to an industry standard of 20 percent, Kambakhsh said.
The company is investing $16 million in new production lines to make the pumps in both North America and Europe starting in 2005.