GKN Driveline has started production on a new forging line at its plant in Celaya, Mexico — the third line installed there since the plant was inaugurated in 1979. The new operation carries an investment value of $11.5 million, according to GKN, and occupies about seven acres at the site in central Mexico. The manufacturer will produce its Constant Velocity Joint (CVJ) systems there, one of its primary product lines.
CVJ, also called universal joints, make it possible to transfer power from a transaxle to an axle or from an axle to a wheel. They are notably important components of front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive systems.
Andy Reynolds Smith, the company’s CEO, called Mexico “a very important growth market for GKN Driveline, and the expansion of this facility will allow us to further strengthen our customer base in Mexico, where vehicle production has been growing rapidly.”
GKN Driveline has invested more than $100 million in its Mexican operations since 2005. The first precision forging line there started in 2000. A CVJ assembly plant was opened in 2006 at Villagrán, Mexico, to support demand in the NAFTA region.
The company stated it plans to invest a further $100 million in its Mexican operations over the next three years, including new high-technology production cells for new-generation CVJ products. Capacity for CVJ systems will increase from 6 million units last year to 9 million in 2013.
The company’s Mexican workforce will rise from 1,300 in 2011 to 1,700 this year. The new forging line will employ 150 when operating at full capacity.
GKN Driveline is an operating unit of GKN plc. It produces automotive driveline components and systems in 23 countries, including a precision forging line supporting CVJ manufacturing at Oragadam, India, started up late last year.
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.