Mario Diaz
Plant Manager
Inalfa Roof Systems
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View from the Top

Mexico Provides Advantages in Sunroof Manufacturing

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 14:38

Q: How successful has Guanajuato been for you as a base of operations?

A: There is one thing that is very important to our business: localization. Guanajuato is very convenient from a logistical stand point. It is expensive to transport our products and so, it is important for us to be close to the customer. From Guanajuato, all our customers are in a 350km radius from our plant. From this area, we can easily move material from the border and the ports. We can export or import material from Europe through Veracruz and Tamaulipas, or from Japan through Lazaro Cardenas. We are also near the US border at Laredo. The state government gave us a lot of incentives while another major aspect is the safety we enjoy in Guanajuato. Our original plan for Mexico was to solely provide a service for the local market, but we saw such great results from the outset that after just two years of operation, Mexico became a benchmark for Inalfa in other countries. Mexico has been home to the creation of many great ideas to improve our processes. Our main customer in Mexico is Ford, but we are now starting work for GM and also have ongoing projects for Honda, Fiat, and Volkswagen.

Q: What have been the main opportunities to increase your project portfolio?

A: More opportunities have been coming our way as a consequence of good results. At first, Ford just saw us a supplier to its Hermosillo plant, and the platform we were producing here was a direct transfer from the one supplied to the Ford plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. Now that Mexico’s potential has become clear, we are exporting from Mexico to Flat Rock. We are producing the sunroof for the Ford Fusion, which is being made in Hermosillo, but we are also shipping these sunroofs to Flat Rock and Valencia, Spain. We are also producing the panoramic sunroof for the Cadillac SRX for GM that will be produced in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila. Volkswagen is a big customer for us in Europe and did not know that we were in Mexico at first, but we are now working together. We also hope to expand our project portfolio with Audi. We are planning to double our current plant size next year, taking it to 3,716m2. As more work comes our way, a third expansion will most likely not be far away.

Q: Does it make economic sense to ship sunroofs to