Goodrich Aerostructures Group's decision to build an assembly plant in Mexicali, Mexico, will attract investments of $330 million, according to a senior Mexican government official.
The company announced it had selected Mexicali in early August after also looking at Guaymas, where another Goodrich Corp. division, Turbomachinery Products, has a facility, said Bijan Latifzadeh, who heads the expansion project.
Chihuahua and Monterrey, Mexico, also were considered as sites, according to an anonymous source in Mexico who is close to the project.
``It is a three-staged project and includes an important component of suppliers' investments,'' said Eduardo J. Solís, head of the investment promotion office at the Ministry of the Economy, in an Oct. 18 interview.
How much of that $330 million will come from Goodrich is unclear. But Aerostructures is making a ``significant investment,'' spokesman Patrick Palmer said in a telephone interview from the group's Chula Vista, Calif., headquarters.
Initially the new Aerostructures plant will ``concentrate on metal parts fabrication,'' primarily for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and Airbus' A350XWB, Palmer said. The operation, to be called Goodrich Aerospace de Mexico, is set to open in the fourth quarter of 2008. He would not disclose whether the plant will manufacture any plastic parts.
He added that future projects at the site could include next-generation, single-aisle replacements for Boeing's 737 and Airbus' A320 - if Boeing and Airbus decide to build such aircraft.
A key factor in choosing Mexicali was its accessibility, just 110 miles away from Chula Vista, Latifzadeh said. Other factors included the region's existing aerospace base and infrastructure, a nearby international airport and the availability of skilled labor and local training resources.
``The state and federal governments offer special incentives to help aerospace companies establish operations in Mexico,'' Latifzadeh said. ``There are going to be training programs specifically designed for Aerostructures' requirements and linkage with local and national universities, as well as technical schools.''
The Goodrich project is one of the latest success stories for the Mexican government. The country is anxious to develop its aerospace industry using four decades of experience in building an auto assembly industry.
In a recent industry conference organized by Mexico Now magazine, Solís said 150 aerospace companies, employing 18,000, operate in Mexico.
``We have the possibility of manufacturing complete planes in Mexico,'' he said. ``We think we'll be doing this within four years.''
Among his proposals is that Mexican suppliers making auto parts add the production of similar aerospace items at their plants.
Goodrich Corp. is based in Charlotte, N.C.