TOLUCA, MEXICO (July 28, 2010) — Chrysler Group L.L.C. has secured a $400 million line of credit from the Mexican government, enabling it to move ahead with plans to assemble the compact Fiat 500 automobile—which will go on sale in North America in December—at its plant in Toluca.
However, Chrysler, which is under the management control of Fiat SpA of Turin, Italy, has yet to reveal which suppliers it will be working with. A company spokesman noted, however, that under the North American Tree Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 60 percent of the vehicle's content must come from within the NAFTA region.
“We have not generated any information about the project, apart from what we announced in February,” a Chrysler spokesman in Mexico City said July 22.
In February, Chrysler announced a $550 million investment in Toluca, where it plans to assemble up to 130,000 Fiat 500s in 2011.
In a July 6 joint news release announcing the $400 million loan, state financial institutions Nacional Financiera and Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior (Bancomext) said the money is also intended to boost the national automotive supplier sector.
A Mexican company hoping to work on Fiat vehicles in Mexico is Air Design SA de CV of Cuernavaca, Mexico. Air Design manufactures polyurethane thermoset and ABS thermoplastic parts, including spoilers and cargo boxes, for the automotive industry.
“Air Design is already a Chrysler Group supplier, but so far we don't have a concrete vehicle personalization project for the Fiat 500,” said Miguel Ãvalos Sartorio, Air Design's managing director.
This report appeared in Plastics News, an Akron-based sister publication of Tire Business.