AUBURN HILLS, Mich.—Henniges Automotive Holdings Inc. is expanding in all major regions of the world.
The firm broke ground on a new manufacturing facility in Gomez Palacio, Mexico, its fourth in the country. It also will open a new office in Munich and a technical and tooling center in Beijing.
The 323,000-sq.-ft. factory in Mexico is expected to be operational by 2016, will support six vehicle platforms and is expected to employ 1,200. The firm said it will be its largest facility in the country and second largest worldwide.
Henniges did not disclose financial details on any of the expansions.
“Mexico is a very attractive region for automotive suppliers,” said Boris Gavric, vice president of global sales and marketing. “It's projected to be the sixth largest automotive market by 2020. Our key OEMs are expanding; our traditional customer base is expanding in Mexico. You've got GM, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes and BMW all announcing new or expanded facilities. They're adding capacity, and it's a very stable, employer-friendly environment.”
Gavric said Henniges is growing at more than 20 percent year-over-year in Mexico and that today, original equipment manufacturers launch 11 percent of NAFTA programs in Mexico. That figure is expected to reach 42 percent by 2020.
The new Mexico facility will produce a variety of automotive sealing systems—including dynamic beltline and glass run seals—as well as anti-vibration systems, such as bushings, exhaust-hanger systems and center bearings, that are fitted to an automobile's drive and powertrain, chassis and suspension.
The firm currently operates three other facilities in Mexico—in Torreon, Guadalajara, and another in Gomez Palacio—and Gavric said Henniges pro-jects to employ about 3,000 in the country by 2018. All three produce sealing systems, with the fourth being the first to produce anti-vibration systems in the country. Each facility is equipped with a technical and research and development center, with the new one following suit.
Like the other three plants, the new Gomez Palacio facility will produce automotive parts utilizing EPDM or thermoplastic elastomers through extrusion, molding and other manufacturing techniques.
Henniges said Gomez Palacio provides a central location and a large population of highly skilled workers with numerous universities and technical institutes. Gavric said the state government of Durango worked with the firm closely and has supported Henniges in its expansion efforts.
“There are a lot of universities, technical institutes in the area with very highly skilled workers,” he said. “It's an ideal area for us. The universities have worked with us to provide the technical skill that we need. We have a very synergetic relationship with that community.”