Japanese textile firm to build a plant in Jalisco

Japanese textile company Toray Industries announced plans to build a Mexican factory for fabric used in automotive air bags, its first production facility related to air bags in the Americas.

The roughly 10 billion yen (US$100 million) plant will make everything from nylon fibers to the finished fabric. This measure will increase the company’s output capacity about 20%, officials explained in a statement.

The plant would sit on the grounds of a factory located at Jalisco state, operated by American carbon fiber subsidiary Zoltek. Toray foresees solid demand, since many automakers have Mexican plants from which they export vehicles to North America, South America and Europe.

The global market for air bags is growing 8% a year on average and will reach US$29.7 billion in 2020, U.S. research firm Transparency Market Research projects. More vehicles are being equipped with the devices to improve safety.

The massive recalls of Takata air bags are also lifting demand. In addition to the need for replacements, competitors are vying to grab market share for themselves. Although Toray has not identified clients, Sweden’s Autoliv is seen receiving a large amount.