By Richard Higgs, European Plastics News
Spanish auto parts manufacturer Zanini Auto Grup recently signed a joint agreement with Russia's Autocomponent Group and the government of Nizhny Novgorod region to form a components joint venture in Nizhny Novgorod.
The deal, formally sealed this month (Oct 2011) in Barcelona, Spain during a visit by an official delegation led by the Nizhny Novgorod governor Valeriy Shantsev, confirms a plan to set up a wheel trim plant by the venture.
Barcelona-based Zanini, already Europe's biggest automotive wheel trim supplier, and its Russian partner Autocomponent, backed by the country's Soyuz Bank group, aim initially to manufacture 300 000 parts per year there.
The first phase of the enterprise will see joint investment of around Euro 2 million focused on the purchase and installation of plant equipment, Russian media reports quoted governor Shantsev as explaining.
Early production at the new plant will be dedicated to providing wheel trim for new car models manufactured by the Russian AvtoVaz automotive assembly plant in Togliatti. Output will be extended to products for other vehicles manufactured in Russia and by 2015, the venture aims to account for 70 percent of component supply in the country.
"We have been about five years looking for a partner (for the project), looked at 30 potential sites in different regions before finally opting for Nizhny Novgorod," recalled Zanini group president Joan Miguel Torras.
His company, founded in 1965, already has a plant at Kadan in the Czech Republic. Other production facilities are in Oyonnax, France; Zaragoza and Barcelona, Spain; Queretaro, Mexico; Sao José dos Pinhais in Brazil and at Winchester, Tennessee, USA. Zanini also runs joint ventures in Istambul, Turkey and Haryana, India.
Zanini's product range apart from wheel trim, comprises external and interior components. These include car body side mouldings, interior boot trim, steering column and airbag covers, radiator grilles and emblem badges.
Autocomponent, formed in 1999, produces a wide range of car parts for mirrors, air conditioning, interior and exterior trim, and dashboards. Its technology includes blow and injection plastics moulding, polyurethane foam moulding, component painting and mirror assembly lines.
Separately from the Spanish venture, the Russian firm plans to invest around Euro 31 million in a new parts plant in Nizhny Novgorod to allow capacity for potential business. Autocomponent is tendering for the supply of vehicle parts to the Volkswagen and GM assembly projects at GAZ group's Gorky Auto Plant. Supplier selection is due before the end of the year."