In yet another sign of the steady growth of lightweighting, Brembo S.p.A. is building an aluminum caliper plant in Mexico.
The $39 million 334,000-square-foot aluminum foundry and machining facility facility just outside of Monterrey, Mexico will allow the international brake maker to annually produce two million calipers for its NAFTA customers.
Cast iron calipers can weigh more than 10 pounds apiece, offering automakers substantial weight reduction opportunities by switching to aluminum.
"The demand for aluminum calipers, expanding quickly outside of Europe, opens up opportunities for further development in North America for Brembo, which has always been a leader in this technology,” chairman Alberto Bombassei said in a statement. “We can take advantage of this opportunity only if we invest in production capacity close to our customers in the local market."
North America became Brembo’s No. 1 market in 2014, with sales increasing 25% in the first nine months of the year compared to the previous year.
The company has been aggressively expanding its presence in the NAFTA region to accommodate and encourage that growth. In 2014, Brembo expanded its production facility in Homer, Mich., and announced plans to build a $100 million cast iron foundry near that Michigan facility.
The Mexico plant, which will support 500 new jobs, is expected to begin production in 2016 and be fully operational within two years. It will be the first time Brembo will make aluminum castings in North America.