HBPO, which specializes in modular front-end systems has announced that the company will be opening two new factories in Mexico. Anja Sprenger, president of HBPO North America, said in a news release that the two plants will be opened next year to serve as just-in-sequence production facilities to support its assembly plants in Aguascalientes and Saltillo, Mexico. The company did not disclose details about its clients though Nissan has a factory at Aguascalientes and Chrysler has one at Saltillo.
HBPO began production of front-end modules for FCA’s Chrysler Pacifica minivan in 2016 at its factory in Windsor, ON, Canada. Recently, it added a third shift at its new plant in in San Jose Chiapa, Mexico, to support the assembly of Audi Q5 at a factory nearby. It also added a third shift at its factory in Toluca, Mexico, that supports FCA.
Sprenger said that sourcing front-end modules from HBPO can help an automotive manufacturer to eliminate five or more work stations and up to 100 or more operations on its final-assembly line.
HBPO is on the growth track with sales in North America expected to grow from 883,000 units in 2016 to over 1.4 million units in 2017 and the workforce is expected to increase by almost 50% from 450 employees in 2016 to more than 650 in 2017.
HBPO has widened its product range by adding production of a center console in North America in 2016 and has plans to begin molding an active grille shutter for a major automaker in North America next year.
The supplier has diversified into front-end modules that are light-weight and cost less for several electric cars and hopes to produce its first EV front-end module later this year. The company recently won a contract to design, develop and produce a complex cockpit-module for a European automaker that will go into production in Germany in 2019.
HBPO North America is on track to make almost 1.4 million complex front-end modules which will account for over 20% of its global front-end module-production. The company will expand its plastic-molding operations to support a new product line in 2018.
HBPO was initially established in 1999 as a partnership between automotive suppliers Hella and Behr (which is now known as Mahle) and Plastic Omnium joined the partnership in 2004. The company has over 2,000 employees across the world producing more than 5.3 million front-end modules a year.
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