World Auto Parts Suppliers look to USA

Global auto suppliers are still looking to the United States for growth, despite the North American industry’s recent struggles.

Mexico City’s Grupo Bocar is building a third injection-molding plant for its Plastic Tec group. Grupo Bocar was promoting its capabilities at the Management Briefing Seminars.

Italian auto suppliers, meanwhile, are touting their knowledge of Fiat S.p.A. Fiat took charge of Chrysler Group in June.

Fiat and Chrysler “are in an early limbo stage now, but there are opportunities. It is going to happen,” said Luigi Giachino, business development manager for Mecaprom Technologies Corp., of Bergamo, Italy, during an interview at the forum yesterday.

Mecaprom has opened its first suburban Detroit office. It is looking for a partner in the region. It wants to combine its knowledge of small engine development with Fiat with an established North American supplier.

The company is part of an outreach program through the Italian American Alliance for Business and Technology. The alliance centers around suppliers in Turin, Fiat’s home, and wants to make connections with Chrysler Group and its supply base.

Many of the alliance companies have had business in North America but expect to build on that now that Fiat will be working with Chrysler Group on future small vehicles, said alliance President Massimo Denipoti.

Grupo Bocar already is a direct supplier to U.S., European and Japanese carmakers with business units producing aluminum die cast parts, machined parts and plastics.

Plastic Tec made the first in-mold application of a textile skin for an auto interior part in North America for the Volkswagen Jetta. Jaime Puente, office manager at the supplier, said it also makes air vents for BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, S.C., replacing auto parts previously made in Europe.

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