Nexteers 18,000 m2 facility in Kenitra, Morocco, will be the company’s first in Africa

Nexteer's 18,000 m2 facility in Kenitra, Morocco, will be the company’s first in Africa

Nexteer says its new EPS facility in Morocco will allow it to add to its South-West European capacity as the supplier looks to expand.

The factory will be located in Kenitra, Morocco and will initially be used for manufacturing Single Pinion-assist Electric Power Steering (SPEPS) systems, with plans to extend manufacturing to driveline products in the future.

The new 18,000 m2 facility will be the company's first in Africa and is scheduled for a ground-breaking ceremony in later this month (March, 2018). Once the site starts production next year, it will become Nexteer's 25th plant in its global manufacturing footprint.

Renault and PSA are already in Morocco, but Nexteer insists it is not just in North Africa for the two giant French OEMs, but wants to spread its business wider.

"We don't go to Morocco just for PSA and Renault," Nexteer VP and COO Europe and South America Division, Hervé Boyer, told just-auto at the supplier's Southern Poland factory in Tychy. "It is [because] that market is already set up. For us the move was always to diversify our footprint.

"We wanted to complement our footprint in South West Europe – Morocco is 14km from Spain and Europe [and] we also benefit from the support we can get from the government. It is well known there is a scheme to support foreign investment in Morocco and we took [it] into consideration when we evaluated the case."

"Kenitra is on the coast and there is a plan to put a port there by 2022. The cost structure is OK, but there are challenges also, because despite [Morocco] booming, the supply base is not established yet.

"A lot of companies manufacture products which are labour intensive – what really makes our business is technology and machining. So the challenge for us is really to develop the ecosystem when it comes to suppliers and also to maintain equipment.

"We are going to do a lot of things internally first of all and step by step, to increase localisation. There is a strong [localisation] push from the government."

Nexteer inked a Memorandum of Understanding with the Moroccan Government to confirm its Kenitra investment plans in July last year, followed by the signing of the official agreement by King Mohammed VI as well as Moroccan government officials and the supplier in December, 2017 in Casablanca.

"Nexteer's key differentiators include our global manufacturing footprint and our in-house capabilities in producing high-quality, safety-critical steering and driveline systems," added Boyer.

"By establishing a new facility in Morocco, we are strategically aligned with our global customers' needs."

Nexteer has 24 manufacturing plants, three technical centres and 14 customer service centres located in North and South America, Europe and Asia.

Nexteer Automotive's customers include BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, PSA Group, Toyota and VW, as well as automakers in India and China.

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