FRANKFURT -- German industrial group ThyssenKrupp plans to invest more than 800 million euros ($869 million) in North America by 2020 to take advantage of increased auto production.
The company announced the plans today as it opened a steering-components plant in Mexico, where most of the world's major carmakers have production sites, mainly for export to the U.S.
The company's investment plans include 500 million euros ($543 million) for the components business, ThyssenKrupp said in a statement. The company expects auto production on the continent to grow 12 percent by 2020.
"North America is already ThyssenKrupp's most important sales market outside Germany, accounting for around 22 percent of our total sales," CEO Heinrich Hiesinger said in the statement. "We are profiting from economic growth and the renaissance of manufacturing in the USA. That's particularly true of our components business, which is why we have started this investment drive."
ThyssenKrupp increased its sales in North and Central America by 8 percent to 9.04 billion euros ($9.8 billion) in its 2013-2014 fiscal year, most of which were in materials distribution, elevator technology and automotive components.
With the new steering systems plant in Puebla, Mexico, ThyssenKrupp said it produces auto parts at four plants in Mexico. Products include engine and steering components, springs, stabilizers and axle modules.
"Our order books are full, so we are steadily expanding our production capacities in Mexico and the USA," Karsten Kroos, CEO of the company's components technology unit, said in a statement. "And we have recently won a number of important new orders. To meet them we will be expanding and building new plants for chassis and engine components, above all in Mexico."
It wasn't clear how much of the new investment would go into Mexico or the U.S.
ThyssenKrupp also said it is planning a broad marketing initiative for its r&d efforts in coming weeks for the U.S. auto industry. The initiative is called "InCar plus." It will include customers such as General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Honda and Tesla, the statement said.
"The platform focuses on eco-friendly solutions around energy efficiency, electromobility and lightweighting for the body, chassis and powertrain," the statement said.
Reuters and Philip Nussel of Automotive News contributed to this report.
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