While the North American auto industry may have been taking a series of economic hits, international auto suppliers are still looking to the U.S. for future growth.
Mexico City-based Grupo Bocar is building a third injection molding plant for its Plastic Tec business.
Bocar already is a direct supplier to U.S., European and Japanese carmakers. It has three business units producing aluminum die-cast parts, machined parts and plastics. It came to the CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City to boost its profile and show off its capabilities.
Plastic Tec's plants in Mexico City and Lerma, Mexico, have a combined 80 injection molding presses, ranging from 25-1,600 tons of clamping force. The new plant, under construction in San Luis Potosí, will add another 25-30 presses.
We are not a shoot-and-ship company, said office manager Jaime Puente. We have state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.
Plastic Tec made the first in-mold application of a textile skin for an auto-interior part in North America for Volkswagen AG's Jetta. The business also makes air vents for BMW AG's assembly plant in Spartanburg, S.C., which replaced parts previously made in Europe, Puente said.
Italian auto suppliers, meanwhile, are touting their knowledge of Fiat SpA, a relationship that takes on added importance now that Fiat has purchased a controlling interest in Chrysler Group LLC of Auburn Hills, Mich.
[Fiat and Chrysler] are in an early limbo stage now, but there are opportunities. It is going to happen, said Luigi Giachino, business development manager for Mecaprom Technologies Corp. of Bergamo, Italy, in an interview at the seminars, held Aug. 4-7.
Mecaprom recently opened its first Detroit-area office, in Plymouth, Mich., and is looking for a regional partner to pursue small-engine development work for Fiat.
The company is just part of an outreach from auto suppliers in Italy through the Italian American Alliance for Business and Technology. The alliance, located around Turin, Italy which is home to Fiat wants to make connections with Chrysler and its supply base.
Many of the alliance companies have had business in North America in the past but expect to build on that business since Fiat will be working with Chrysler on future small vehicles, said Massimo Denipoti, president of the alliance.
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