HBPO, a supplier of modular front end systems, is expanding its North American footprint – adding two new plants, developing additional product offerings and increasing unit sales.

Anja Sprenger, president of HBPO North America, said the company plans to add just in sequence production facilities next year to support two major automakers with assembly plants in Aguascalientes and Saltillo, Mexico. 

Production of modules for FCA's Chrysler Pacifica models began last year at an HBPO plant in Windsor, Canada, and a third shift recently was added at a company plant opened last year in San Jose Chiapa, Mexico, to support nearby Audi Q5 assembly operations.

A third shift also was recently added to HBPO's Toluca, Mexico, plant that supports FCA.

Sprenger said HBPO unit sales in North America are expected to grow from sales of 883,000 units in 2016 to more than 1.4m in 2017 while employment will climb by nearly 50% from 450 employees in 2016 to 650 in 2017.

HBPO plans a multi million dollar investment in research and development activities, new product launches and plant additions in North America over a five year period, including a major expansion of plastic moulding operations to support a new product line in 2018.

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By GlobalData

Known primarily as an assembler of complex front end modules, HBPO added a centre console in North America last year and will begin moulding an active grille shutter for a major car maker in North America next year.

The company also is developing front end modules designed to reduce weight and lower costs for a variety of electric vehicles. It expects to produce its first electric vehicle module later this year.

HBPO would also like to expand its product offerings to include instrument panel or cockpit modules. The company recently was awarded a contract to design, develop and produce a complex cockpit module for a European car maker that will go into production in Germany in 2019.

HBPO's North American operations currently include headquarter offices and product development facilities in Troy, Michigan, and production facilities in Windsor, Canada, as well as plants in Puebla, San Jose Chiapa and Toluca, Mexico.

Based in Lippstadt, Germany, HBPO North America expects to build nearly 1,400,000 front end modules this year accounting for more than 20% of the company's module production globally.

With three hours of advance notice from a customer, HBPO is able to deliver just in sequence modules for vehicles coming down a final assembly line. The process can involve the management of more than 200 individual components for 250 or more variations of a single module. 

"By sourcing modules from HBPO, a car maker can eliminate five or more work stations and up to 100 or more operations on its final assembly line," Sprenger said.