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Schneider-expansion-to-mexicoGerman auto supplier Dr. Schneider Group will spend 5 million euros ($6.5 million) to open new manufacturing facilities in China and Mexico. "We will invest 2.5 million euros in each facility by early 2014 at the latest," CEO Klaus Fricke told Automotive News Europe. "We're going to hire 100 new employees for each facility by then."

Fricke said the plants answer requests from customers to expand with them in China and North America. "We are following them and becoming one of the very few automotive plastics suppliers with a global production network," he said.

The CEO added that the supplier will start building its factory in Zacatecas, Mexico, this fall, with production set to begin in spring 2013.

"We are supplying our German customers in the south of the U.S. with mounting parts and fresh-air nozzles and systems from Mexico," Fricke said.
The Mexico plant will be affiliated with the company's U.S. factory in Howell, Mich.

Output at Dr. Schneider's factory in Liaoyang, China, starts in March.

"We will launch the production of air-vent systems and decorative and mounting parts, including the makeup mirror for the BMW 3 series and 5 series," Fricke said.

Dr. Schneider, an 84-year-old, family-owned, midsized company based in Kronach-Neuses, had sales of 280 million euros ($367 million) and operating profit of 12 million euros ($16 million) in 2010. The company expects 2011 sales to rise to 320 million euros ($419 million). The firm specializes in automotive plastic products, including ventilation systems, interior paneling and modules for instrument panels and center consoles. Dr. Schneider employs about 3,000 employees worldwide, with 1,200 in Germany.

Its German plants are in Kronach, Tschirn and Judenbach, while its facilities outside Germany are in Michigan; Valencia, Spain; São Paulo; Radomierz, Poland; and Spišská Nová Ves, Slovakia.

By Harald Hamprecht

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