Global injection molder and extruder Rehau Inc. is expanding operations in Mexico to keep up with growth, especially in the country's automotive and construction 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 “evaluating additional projects in Mexico and South America,” a Rehau spokeswoman said.
Based in Leesburg, Va, Rehau employs about 15,000 at 170 locations across the world. The Celaya plant employs 200 but the firm “expects to increase this number to about 300 in 2012,” the spokeswoman said.
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,” said Stephan Joachim, sales director for Mexico and Central America, in a news release.
In June, Japan's Mazda Motor Corp. and Sumitomo Corp. announced a $500 million joint venture to assemble 140,000 compact cars a year at a plant to be built in nearby Salamanca. Production is scheduled to start before 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 that will build 200,000 vehicles a year, starting in 2014.
Other auto sector companies already in the area, or planning to move in, include American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. of Detroit, which employs 3,000 in Silao, and Volkswagen AG, which is building a midsize-engine plant there.
The spokeswoman said Rehau's growth target for Celaya in 2012 is about 30 percent, with automotive representing most of that. The auto industry, she said, represents nearly 50 percent of the plant's production.
According to Joachim, by 2013 the Celaya plant 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. Clients include Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., which awarded new business to Rehau's Celaya plant this year, Joachim said.
Rehau's Celaya site also serves the construction, furniture and appliance sectors in Mexico, Central America, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and the U.S. In 2012, the operation also will focus 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 manufactures about 500 part numbers in Celaya, with 65 percent of production staying in Mexico, 30 percent exported to the U.S. and 5 percent to Central America. In order of importance, the spokeswoman listed automotive, commercial cooling solutions and furniture as markets that offer Rehau the greatest potential for growth in the region.
She declined to provide details about equipment and suppliers at the facility, other than saying, “the Celaya plant houses extrusion, injection molding and fabrication capabilities.”