Clear Focus Allows Steady GrowthBy Alejandro Enríquez | Mon, 06/29/2020 - 13:11
Q: What growth opportunities has Eagle Tlaxcala identified with OEMs in Puebla and other states?
A: We are focused on interior components and we want to integrate ourselves vertically in the industry by producing plastic and foam and sending it to the customer to sheathe it and send it to the US. We remain competitive thanks to our good quality and our bet for 2020 is to collaborate directly with OEMs on powertrain components. This will give us additional room for growth. We are talking directly to Volkswagen and Audi, since they are next door, although we have also targeted Queretaro and Cuernavaca. There are several OEMs we can work with in terms of powertrain components. These are not part of a sequenced process, so there is no need to be closer to the OEM to sell the components. We will handle this business directly at our plant in Tlaxcala.
Negotiation for purchasing these components is conducted directly in Mexico. Volkswagen has its purchasing manager locally, while Audi also trusts in Volkswagen for purchasing decisions. We have very interesting offers for Audi, for example. Furthermore, we can replicate any project at our partner plants located in the Czech Republic, China, Germany, the US and Mexico. These plants are not financially related but we work in a partnership.
Q: How ready is your plant for new processes?
A: We are introducing a new production line for our powertrain offering. At the same time, we are building two new lines for interior components, the first of which will be ready to produce in October. By the end of 2020, we will have the powertrain line installed and one more line for injected foam. Regarding certifications, we are already ISO and IATF compliant. We are a clean industry and we have implemented best practices with employees, all to provide an added value in the automotive industry.
Q: Why should Audi, Volkswagen and other OEMs choose Eagle Tlaxcala over other interior component suppliers?
A: We have high-quality products, more than 30 years in the market and we are a financially consolidated company with no debt whatsoever. All our investments have been made with our own funds. Furthermore, our location is strategic for Volkswagen and Audi, representing considerable savings in transportation.
The size of our projects will determine if we continue to finance our new ventures with our own capital. We do prefer reinvesting since it represents savings in terms of the costs on a loan. In 2019, our investments came from our own pocket, including the cost of our molds. We expect 45 new molds from our three major suppliers.
Q: How do you choose your mold suppliers and what opportunities do you see for local suppliers?
A: Foam models are produced here in Mexico. The main challenge Mexican companies face is not technological but related to design. Local players do not normally have qualified people to perform engineering design. If a company does not know how to design the mold, what materials to use or how to do the tooling, it simply cannot compete. Once you have the design, the machine works by itself. Mexican companies need to train young people and make them experts in design. They can learn in Canada, Portugal, Germany and China, which are the leading countries in molding. Once they are trained, economic growth will come from local production. Machines without the talent to use them are worth nothing.
Q: As the President of the Tlaxcala Automotive Council at CLAUZ, what opportunities do you see for Tlaxcala to grow as an automotive hub?
A: Tlaxcala has already been growing. The supplier base for automotive companies in the state has been growing year on year, especially in the past three years, in particular because of the state’s proximity to Audi and Volkswagen. German companies wanting to do business in Mexico to help their clients meet NAFTA and USMCA standards have chosen Tlaxcala to establish their operations.
If the trade war between the US and China continues, there will be an opportunity for Mexico to grow its attractiveness for Chinese suppliers that want to export to the US. I hope USMCA will be ratified in the US and Canada by the end of the year. But even if that is not the case, we will keep playing under NAFTA rules as long as the US president does not take any extreme decisions.
Eagle Tlaxcala Mexico is an interior component manufacturer that supplies OEMs with foam-injected products. The company is located in Tlaxcala and has over 35 years of experience in the automotive industry