Earlier this week in Mexico, supplier TI Automotive had opened its first fuel-tank production plant. Located about 100 miles north of Mexico City, this plant will provide plastic fuel tanks for the next-generation Nissan Versa sedan, Note minivan and Micra subcompact. TI is new to this business of supplying plastic fuel tanks for the Nissan cars.
TI is more recognized as being a manufacturer of brake lines and other automotive fluid lines, tanks, and pumps. The plant, which now makes test tanks, has one assembly line and employs 20 workers but it has the capacity for three lines and 200 employees at full production.
TI says that by May 2011, the plant is expected to have full-scale production on the Nissan program. TI CEO Bill Kozyra anticipates that it will soon secure contracts from Volkswagen AG and other automakers for the plant. However, he doesn’t expect to transport fuel tanks from San Luis Potosi to the U.S.
He said that due to the high concentration of vehicle manufacturing in Mexico and the facility's central location, the company is capable of building fuel tank systems for all automakers in the U.S. For this endeavor, TI is prepared to invest $7.7 million in the plant.
Kautex Maschinenbau supplies the plant's plastic molding machinery. On Automotive News’ list of the top 100 global suppliers, TI Automotive was ranked No. 71 with estimated sales of $1.69 billion in its last fiscal year.