QUERÉTARO, MEXICO (July 11, 12:30 p.m. ET) — Helped by a booming national automotive industry, Austrian injection molding machine supplier Engel Holding GmbH is enjoying bumper sales in Mexico.
“I'm not ready to say we're No. 1, but we're keeping up quite well and the (sales) figures for 2012 are considerably higher than in 2011,” Peter Auinger, managing director of subsidiary Engel de México SA de CV, told Plastics News July 10.
Engel did business worth “slightly below 20 million euros” ($24.5 million) in Mexico in 2011, according to Auinger, a polymer engineer who joined Engel from thermoforming machine maker Kiefel GmbH in February, 2011, and was immediately posted to Mexico. He had worked in Latin America previously, he said in a telephone interview.
Sixty percent-plus of Engel's business in the country is with the automotive industry, a sector in which the Schwertberg, Austria-based, family-run, global company specializes.
Eight companies, Chrysler Group LLC, Fiat Group Automobiles, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG, assembled an unprecedented 2.55 million light vehicles in 2011, 13.1 percent more than the 2.26 million built in 2010, according to national auto makers association AMIA (Asociación Mexicana de la Industria Automotriz AC).
In the first six months of 2012, they produced an additional 1.41 million light vehicles, 12.8 percent more than the 1.25 million built in the first half of 2011, AMIA said.
With the likes of Nissan ($2 billion), Volkswagen ($1.3 billion), Honda ($800 million), Mazda Motor Corp. ($500 million) and Audi AG (unknown) committing at least $4.6 billion to building new plants or extending existing ones in Mexico in the coming years, Auinger is optimistic about the future.
“There's a clear intent to increase the national automotive industry's production to 3.5 million in the next two or three years,” he said.
In addition to new business from Engel's historic automotive industry customers, most of whom are Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, opportunities are arising from the arrival of new suppliers from abroad, Auinger said.
In the past 18 months the company has sold four presses with a clamping force of 3,500 tons in Mexico, further proof that the national automotive industry is expanding rapidly.
But Auinger is also looking forward to growth in the other sectors where Engel supplies machines in Mexico: packaging for industrial and consumer goods, which represents 15 percent of Engel de México's business; teletronics (15 percent) and medical, he said.
Since Auinger's arrival Engel has added six employees in Mexico and has a staff of 22, including service, sales and administrative personnel, today. The company opened a $5.5 million technical center and Mexican headquarters on the outskirts of Querétaro, 125 miles northwest of Mexico City, in October, 2010,
“There are maybe between 2,700 and 3,000 injection molders in Mexico, between 1,400 and 1,500 of whom are potential customers,” he said. “We still have a long way to go to penetrate the market.”