Grupo Salinas, a Mexico City-based communications, financial services and retailing giant, has started assembling Chinese motorcycles at a new $16 million plant in central Mexico.
Located in Toluca, the facility has an installed capacity of 350,000 units per year and will employ 500.
``At least for now all the plastics parts [for the bikes] will come from China,'' said Salinas spokesman Daniel McCosh. ``The plant is basically a [complete knock-down] operation.''
The supplier is Chongqing Loncin Import & Export Co. Ltd., of Chongqing.
According to McCosh, the plant is Latin America's largest motorcycle factory.
He said the machines will not only be sold in Mexico but exported to Guatemala, Honduras and Peru.
In Mexico they are marketed under the Italika brand, which Grupo Salinas launched in 2005. In its three years of operations, Italika has sold 500,000 Italika motorcycles and captured 50 percent of the Mexican market, McCosh said.
The 376,736-square-foot plant is built on an 18.5-acre site. Italika will produce eight of the 16 models currently on the Mexican market, McCosh said.
The company can store up to 50,000 motorbikes in the site's warehouses at any one time.
Last year, Grupo Salinas announced that it planned to assemble Chinese-designed automobiles at an assembly plant to be constructed in western Mexico with China's First Automobile Works Group.
The Mexican group will own a majority stake in that $150 million plant, which is expected to be completed by late 2010 and to have an initial production capacity of 100,000 vehicles a year.
The vehicles will be sold in Mexico and exported to Central America, according to a bulletin posted on the Salinas group's Web site.
The group already sells FAW cars in Mexico through a network of 16 dealerships.