MEXICO: GKN Driveline breaks ground on Mexico expansion

Carlos Kingwergs

GKN Driveline is developing a new manufacturing facility in Villagran, Mexico, to introduce premium propshaft production into the country for a range of automaker customers. The company says the facility will accommodate Mexico’s burgeoning automotive sector and the broader growth in demand for all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles in the Americas.

The 12,000 square meter site will also include Constant Velocity Joint (CVJ) machining facilities and a new propshaft painting line. This is GKN Driveline’s second plant in Villagran, which is located in the state of Guanajuato.

GKN Driveline says the facility will produce up to one million propshafts per year and will serve customers including Audi, BMW, FCA, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and VW.
Forecasts say that AWD production will increase by around 20% in North America by 2020 to reach around three million vehicles. GKN says it is investing in AWD driveline technology and growing production capacity globally.

GKN held a ground breaking ceremony some weeks ago to mark the expansion was attended by GKN Driveline Chief Executive Phil Swash, GKN PLC Chief Executive Nigel Stein and the GKN Board. GKN Driveline is investing US$17.5 million in the development of the new facility, which it says will be fully operational by April 2016.

Fidel Otake, GKN Driveline Director for Mexico, said: “The expansion of GKN Driveline Villagran, which is located in a growth region for automotive manufacturing in Mexico, further strengthens our position in this important market. GKN is bringing the latest propshaft and sideshaft production techniques to Mexico, helping our customers make their vehicles lighter and more efficient.”

Robert Willig, GKN Driveline Americas President, added: “As the global leader in driveline technology, GKN is addressing the key requirements of OEMs and their customers. Half the world’s cars are driven by GKN technology and we work with over 90% of the world’s automotive manufacturers. We lead the market in CVJ driveshafts and fuel efficient all-wheel drive systems. In electric drive we have many more eAxles – electric AWD – on the road than any of our competitors, over 250,000 vehicles and rising. GKN Driveline continues to invest in its business to ensure it can meet the global needs of its customers, as well as to cater for the drive towards global platforms.”

About GKN Driveline
GKN Driveline is the world’s leading supplier of automotive driveline components and systems. As a global company serving the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers, GKN Driveline develops, builds and supplies an extensive range of automotive driveline components – for use in the smallest ultra low-cost car to the most sophisticated premium vehicle demanding the most complex driving dynamics.

GKN is the global technology leader in CVJ sideshafts, efficient all-wheel drive systems AWD, and in conventional and controlled differentials for transmissions and axles. It is also the pioneer and systems leader in advanced electric and hybrid drivelines.

GKN Driveline has 22,000 people at 56 facilities in 22 countries, including United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, Brazil, South Africa, Poland, U.S., Japan, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, India Sweden, China and Malaysia; working in partnership with vehicle manufacturers to develop driveshaft and geared component technologies for the future.