GKN VillagranMexico – Built at a cost of $17.5m, the 12,000 sq.m facility in the central state of Guanajuato will support both local and global demand for all-wheel drive vehicles. The plant is now making a new type of propshaft, the GKN VLi, which its maker claims is fast to assemble and capable of operating at high rotational speeds.

At full capacity, the plant will make more than 1m propshafts per year and employ 380 personnel. It also boasts a propshaft painting line and machining facilities for constant velocity joints.

The new factory is GKN’s second in Villagran. “With the start of production on these new lines in Villagran, GKN’s long-standing operations in Mexico are entering a new phase,” commented Fidel Otake, director for Mexico, GKN Driveline. “This investment brings the latest technology to market in Mexico, strengthening the support we provide to an increasing number of automakers and global programmes with local production here.” GKN says its customers include Audi, BMW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Volkswagen.

“The increasing worldwide demand for all-wheel drive vehicles is driving growth for GKN’s lightweight, high-performance driveline technologies. GKN is introducing innovative propshaft designs that save weight, increase efficiency and that make vehicle integration simpler,” said Phil Swash, CEO of GKN Driveline. “This expansion of GKN’s existing footprint in Mexico strengthens the company’s position as the leading driveline system supplier for global vehicle platforms and will also enable us to support further growth in Mexico’s automotive sector.”

GKN Driveline established a presence in Mexico in 1979 and now has three plants, employing 2,075 people.