VILLA DE REYES, Mexico — Swiss custom wheel maker Ronal Group has broken ground near Villa de Reyes, San Luis Potosi, on its second plant in Mexico, one that eventually will produce up to 2 million alloy wheels a year.
Härkingen, Switzerland-based Ronal expects to begin production at the plant by early 2016. At full capacity, the 60,000-square-meter plant will employ about 500 workers, Ronal said.
The company is spending about $90 million to build and equip the factory, according to local news reports of the ground-breaking.
The new plant, which will operate as Ronal San Luis S.A. de C.V., is considered part of Ronal's growth strategy and will strenghthen the firm's presence in the NAFTA trading region, although Ronal did not elaborate on the size of its market presence in the region.
The new plant will boast state-of-the-art technology as well as a flowforming facility and a testing center, Ronal said. The company's other plant in Mexico, opened in 1999, is in Querétaro, operating as Ronal Querétaro S.A. de C.V.
The company also has plants in Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Czech Republic and Taiwan. Together the firm's 11 plants have a combined capacity of 18 million wheels annually.
Ronal CEO Yvo Schnarrenberger and Fernando Torango Fernandez, Governor of San Luis Potosí, laid the foundation stone for the new plant on Nov. 1.
Ronal — founded in 1969 by Karl Wirth — goes to market with two brands, Ronal and Speedline, the latter of which came via acquisition in 2007. The Speedline brand also is produced in medium truck sizes and specifications.
Ronal does not disclose annual sales or other financial data; it employs more than 6,000 worldwide.
The company delivers original equipment wheels to more than a dozen of the world's leading automotive groups, including Ford Motor Co., Fiat-Chrysler and General Motors Co. in North America.