Mexico – After becoming fully operational in April 2016, the $17.5m, 12,000 sq.m facility at Villagran will produce up to 1m propshafts per year for customers including Audi, BMW, FCA, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Volkswagen. The plant will boast constant velocity joint machining capabilities and a new painting line.
“The expansion of GKN Driveline Villagran, which is located in a growth region for automotive manufacturing in Mexico, further strengthens our position in this important market,” commented Fidel Otake, GKN Driveline director for Mexico. “GKN is bringing the latest propshaft and sideshaft production techniques to Mexico, helping our customers make their vehicles lighter and more efficient.”
The company stated that its new plant will serve not merely Mexico’s expanding automotive sector but “the growing demand for all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles in the Americas”, citing research from analyst IHS which predicts a 21% increase to around 3m in North America by 2020. GKN’s AWD driveline technology already features in models such as the Jeep Renegade, Range Rover Evoque and the new Volvo XC90.
GKN now has two plants at Villagran and three in Mexico as a whole, employing a total of 2,075 individuals; the company first established a presence in the country in 1979. GKN is investing to increase its AWD production capacity worldwide.