Magna International Inc has started construction of a $135 million automotive exteriors manufacturing facility in Querétaro, in central Mexico.
It held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site, about 130 miles northwest of Mexico City, March 18.
The plant will produce molded and painted exterior parts, including fascias and rocker panels, for global auto makers. The 285,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to begin operations in the first quarter of 2016.
Magna Exteriors President Grahame Burrow told Plastics News in a telephone interview that the company has already secured two manufacturing programs for the new plant in 2016, for Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
“We would expect to run 12 million to 15 million pounds of resins a year at the new plant,” he said. “We are looking for additional customers. Our intention is to grow the business.”
All of the plant's production will be for the Mexican market, he said, adding that initially the plant will have seven injection molding presses with clamping forces of 4,000 metric tons and two with 2,000 metric tons. KraussMaffei Group will supply all nine machines.
Magna, of Aurora, Ontario, expects the plant to employ about 600 in the first year. The plant's managing director is John Schultz.
In the same news release, Burrow said Querétaro is in “a growing region for the automotive manufacturing industry” and has “a skilled workforce and professional business environment.
“Our growth in Mexico offers opportunities for Magna to continue to align ourselves with the ongoing needs of our global customers,” he said.
The new manufacturing facility will be Magna's 30th in Mexico. The first opened in Puebla in 1991. Magna also runs an engineering and product development center in the country, where it employs 24,000.
Of the six Magna Exteriors plants in Mexico — including the new Querétaro facility — four do injection molding, Burrow said.