Two major Nuevo Leon-based manufacturers expand operations in China, US

Two major manufacturing companies from Nuevo Leon recently announced expansions in the United States and China as a result of the attraction of new businesses and high demand of their products in the automotive sector.

One of the companies is Apodaca-based structural components supplier Metalsa, which just announced that, due to an expansion at one of its plants in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, it will approximately recruit an additional 250 workers to the nearly 2,000 it already employs in the region. 

The Elizabethtown complex is one of Metalsa’s largest operations worldwide. It supplies frames and other structural components for the iconic Ford pickup trucks which are built at the assembly plant nearby in Louisville, Kentucky.

In fact, earlier this year, Ford recognized Metalsa as a top-performing global supplier because of its support to this program. Only 30 companies were selected as finalists from thousands of Ford suppliers globally. However, the company did not provide details on whether the expansion is part of a supply program for Ford or another automaker.

Metalsa operates 19 manufacturing plants in 9 countries from where it supplies products for nearly 60 different customers. Its workforce is about 13,500 strong worldwide.

Meanwhile, Santa Catarina-based manufacturer of exhaust systems Katcon Global announced it will open its fifth manufacturing plant in China in the first days of 2019, Nuevo Leon media reported (subscription required). The facility, located in the city of Xiangtan, will open 150 job positions in order to manufacture 450,000 exhaust systems per year, increasing the company’s global output capacity by 11%.

Katcon CEO Carlos Turner highlighted in a press conference the potential of the Chinese automotive market, referring that the growth rates of vehicle production are greater than those of Europe and North America, places where the company also operates plants.

“China is the largest automotive market in the world and is growing very aggressively at 8 or 9% per year, unlike Europe and North America, which may be growing at rates of 1 and 1.5%, respectively, and more opportunities are being generated in there,” he said.

Turner declined to comment on the amount of investment it took to build the plant but he mentioned that the project was conceived by the company’s own resources.

Katcon was founded in 1993 by Fernando Turner, who held the position of Secretary of Economy and Labor in the current government of Nuevo León until last May. The company operates manufacturing facilities in Poland, Australia, Mexico, India, South Africa, China, Russia, Brazil, Korea, and the United States. The company also has engineering facilities in Luxembourg, Michigan, Nuevo Leon and Shanghai.

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