TOKYO -- Toray Industries plans to construct a Mexican factory for fabric used in automotive air bags, its first production facility related to air bags in the Americas.
The roughly 10 billion yen ($100 million) plant, which will make everything from nylon fibers to the finished fabric, is slated to come onstream in fiscal 2017. This will increase the Japanese company's output capacity about 20%.
The plant would sit on the grounds of a factory operated by American carbon fiber subsidiary Zoltek. Toray foresees solid demand, since many automakers have Mexican plants from which they export vehicles to North America, South America and Europe.
The global market for air bags is growing 8% a year on average and will reach $29.7 billion in 2020, U.S. research firm Transparency Market Research projects. More vehicles are being equipped with the devices to improve safety.
The massive recalls of Takata air bags are also lifting demand. In addition to the need for replacements, competitors are vying to grab market share for themselves. Although Toray has not identified clients, Sweden's Autoliv is seen receiving a large amount.
Toray aims to boost sales in its textile business to 1 trillion yen by around 2020 and has unveiled plans to expand air bag fabric operations toward this end.