“Total purchases from suppliers in Mexico are close to $2 billion per year, an increase of more than $1 billion since 2002,” he said. In 2002, Toyota announced construction of its Tacoma pickup assembly plant near Tijuana.
Nielsen added that Mexican suppliers produce items ranging from chassis and high-tech electrical components to items such as seat belts and airbags.
One of Toyota’s newest suppliers is Metalsa, which makes structural parts for heavy-duty and light trucks and cars.
Metalsa, a unit of Proeza Corp., has headquarters in Monterrey. It will supply 186,000 chassis frames per year to Toyota’s Tundra assembly plant in San Antonio, says Gustavo Andres, Metalsa’s commercial vice president for North America.
“We have set up a sequencing services operation in the Toyota plant in San Antonio,” he said in a recent interview with Automotive News.
Metalsa also supplies Toyota with several components for the Tundra cabin as well as brake protectors for the vehicle, all made at another plant in the city of San Luis Potosi, central Mexico, Andres said.
Enrique Zambrano, Proeza’s managing director, said in a speech that Toyota and Metalsa jointly invested $160 million in the chassis program. The project required hiring 600 more hourly workers. The company has 3,807 hourly workers, said Andres.
Zambrano said Metalsa has installed 123 robots on the Tundra chassis frame assembly line. Zambrano said Metalsa would post $100 million a year in revenue from the Toyota deal.
“We went through a competitive process in 2002 and 2003 to prove that we could be a quality supplier for Toyota,” Andres said in the interview. “Our competition was Dana Corp. They had 100 percent” of the chassis frame business.