MEXICO CITY (Sept. 22, 1:55 p.m. ET) — Global injection molder and extruder Rehau Inc is expanding its manufacturing operations in Mexico to keep up with growth in the country's automotive, construction and other industries.
In early September it announced the addition of 13,000 square feet to its plant in Celaya, taking the total floor space to 32,000 square feet.
It is also “evaluating additional projects in Mexico and South America,” a spokeswoman told Plastics News, adding, however, that “no specific information on these is available at this time.”
Headquartered in Leesburg, Va, Rehau employs about 15,000 at 170 locations across the world. The Celaya plant, 125 miles northwest of the Mexican capital, employs 200 but the spokeswoman said the company “expects to increase this number to about 300 in 2012.”
Rehau has invested more than $20 million in manufacturing operations in Mexico since its arrival in 1993, she said.
“While Rehau's Celaya plant is already located in a thriving hub for automotive manufacturing, we are seeing additional industries moving into the area and [are] hoping to capitalize on existing supplier capabilities that can translate across disciplines,” Stephan Joachim, Rehau's sales director and steering committee member for Mexico and Central America, said in a news release.
In June Mazda Motor Corp. and fellow Japanese company Sumitomo Corp. announced a $500 million joint venture to assemble 140,000 compact cars a year at a new plant to be built in nearby Salamanca. Production is scheduled to start in the 2013 Japanese fiscal year, which runs through March 2014.
In mid August Honda de México SA de CV, a subsidiary of Japan's Honda Motor Ltd, announced plans for an $800 million light vehicle assembly plant in Celaya. The plant will build 2000,000 vehicles a year, starting in 2014, the company said.
Other automotive sector companies already in the area or planning to move in include American Axle & Manufacturing Inc., which employs 3,000 in Silao, and Volkswagen AG, which is building a midsize engine plant, also in Silao.
The Rehau spokeswoman said the Celaya plant's growth target for 2012 is about 30 percent, “with the automotive sector representing the majority of this target.”
The automotive industry, she said, represents nearly 50 percent of the plant's production. According to Joachim, by 2013 the Celaya facility will produce 3 million car sets a year, up from the current level of 2.5 million. Car sets include moldings for lateral glass, windshields, belt lines and roof ditches.
The clients for such sets include Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., which, Joachim said, awarded new business to Rehau's Celaya plant this year.
Other sectors served by Rehau from Celaya include the construction, furniture and appliance sectors in Mexico, Central America, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and the United States.
The Celaya operation will also focus in 2012 on providing complete fabricated door systems to the commercial cooling industry, “which we expect will have a significant impact on energy efficiency in supermarkets,” Joachim added.
In all, Rehau produces about 500 part numbers in Celaya, with 65 percent of production staying in Mexico, 30 percent being exported to the U.S. and 5 percent to Central America.
Asked which markets supplied by Rehau in Celaya offer the greatest potential for growth, the spokeswoman listed in order of importance automotive, commercial cooling solutions and furniture.
She declined to provide information on press numbers and suppliers at the Celaya facility, other than saying that “the Celaya plant houses extrusion, injection molding and fabrication capabilities.”