Automotive parts supplier MANN+HUMMEL has begun operations at its new production centre in the Queretaro Industrial Park in Mexico.

The new facility represents an investment of nearly $US15 million over three years and will employ up to 250 people by 2006. The 150,000-square-foot (14,000-square-meter) facility doubles the firm’s manufacturing capacity in Mexico.

The company expects to triple its sales in Mexico over the next several years and expand the number of components currently produced there, including air cleaners, filter elements and design air cleaners. New products such as engine plastic oil modules and coolant surge tanks also will be produced in Queretaro.

The need for a larger facility was the result of both current and newly-awarded business from customers such as Volkswagen of Mexico, General Motors, Ford, Volvo, DaimlerChrysler and Nissan-Renault. The plant will supply those automakers’ assembly plants as well as aftermarket customers in Mexico and in the USA.

The new plant sits on an eight-acre site, adjacent to a seven-acre parcel that is available for future expansion, in the Queretaro Industrial Park. The park is home to more than a dozen other major automotive suppliers.

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About 30% of the Queretaro work force have relocated from the company’s former production facility in Tlalnepantla, about 125 miles (200 kilometres) to the south.  The new plant is much larger than the old facility, and at full capacity could produce twice as many components.