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Sector Focus

GKN Driveline moves to Mexico

GKN Driveline, the global leader in advanced and electrified driveline technology, has started production at its state- of-the-art manufacturing facility in Villagran, Mexico. The new US$17.5 million

facility will serve Mexico‘s fast- growing automotive sector and the strong growth in local and global demand for all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles. Phil Swash, GKN Driveline’s

chief executive officer, said: “The increasing worldwide demand for all-wheel drive vehicles is driving growth for GKN’s lightweight, high-performance driveline technologies. GKN is introducing innovative propshaft designs that save weight, increase efficiency and that make vehicle integration simpler. “This expansion of GKN’s

existing footprint in Mexico strengthens the company’s position as the leading driveline system supplier for global vehicle platforms and will also enable us to support further growth in Mexico’s automotive sector.” The 12,000 square metre site

is GKN Driveline‘s second plant in Villagran, based in the central state of Guanajuato. The facility is producing a new

type of higher performance propshaft, the GKN VLi, which is faster to assemble. Customers include Audi, BMW,

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Volkswagen. At full capacity, the plant will produce more than one million propshafts a year and will employ 380 people. It will also house new constant velocity joint machining facilities, as well as a new propshaft painting line.

Investors fly the flag for British-built vehicles

A massive investment by supply chain members of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) is expected over the next three years as efforts continue to boost the British content of vehicles built in the UK. In the latest survey of more than 100 SMMT supply

chain member companies, 94 per cent said they plan to invest in their businesses over the next three years – at a total of £225m.

‘Britain’s car industry is booming, exporting more than ever’

Of those, four in five intend to invest in plant, machinery or tooling; 73 per cent in skills and apprentices; and 66 per cent in new product development. 78,000 people are currently employed in the UK automotive supply sector, and seven in 10 companies (68 per cent) said they plan to expand their workforce over the next three years. Potential investment does depend, however, on continued political and economic stability and the long term growth of the UK automotive sector. The British supply chain is a critical

element of the wider UK automotive industry and consists of more than 2,000 companies contributing an annual £4.3 billion in value added (or tax receipts) direct to the UK economy. The sector suffered

Telford set for boost from casting facility

Plans for the biggest automotive development in the West Midlands since the launch of the Jaguar Land Rover engine plant near Wolverhampton have been warmly welcomed. Magna International has revealed

proposals to build a new aluminium casting facility in Telford, making parts for JLR. The 225,000 sq ft factory, one of the biggest in Shropshire, will create 300 jobs. Cllr Shaun Davies, Telford &

Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for business, hailed the

56 CHAMBERLINK July/August 2016

announcement as an “extremely significant” day for the borough of Telford and Wrekin. He said: “In Telford, we pride

ourselves on being inventive and dynamic and the details of the high tech production process Magna has announced for its facility shows that they are a perfect fit for us. “This has been made possible as

a result of the land deal that we announced in March with the Homes and Communities Agency and the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, which will see us

deliver 8,500 new jobs through investing in bringing sites like T54 to the market. “This major development will see

the creation of 295 skilled local jobs when the plant is at full capacity.

significant setbacks in past decades but is now undergoing a renaissance. Forty-one per cent of the components in the average British-built car are now sourced locally, up from 36 per cent in 2011. Efforts to maintain this growth are continuing,

supported by both government and industry, and new business opportunities in the UK automotive supply chain are worth up to £6 billion. While the findings paint a positive picture of the

health and confidence of British-based suppliers, respondents cited various challenges to success. The skills shortage is a key issue of concern. Other possible barriers to growth include exchange rate inconsistencies, competition from overseas and a lack of visibility among purchasers. Mike Hawes (pictured), SMMT chief

executive, said: “Britain’s car industry is booming, exporting more than ever, and it’s encouraging to see this opening up huge opportunities for the UK supply sector. A strong domestic supply chain is critical to a successful automotive sector and we are

confident that, with the right political and economic conditions, significant supply chain investment can be secured, delivering more jobs and growth.” The findings were revealed as

the Automechanika Birmingham aftermarket and supply chain trade show made its UK debut at the NEC.

New factory: the proposed Magna plant


“Subject to receiving planning

permission, we expect that construction on the new facility will begin in the autumn of this year. Magna has said production will begin in 2018.”

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