Toray Industries 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. Toray plans to construct a air bag fabric plant in Mexico, fabric used in automotive air bags and Toray’s 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.
Although Toray has not identified clients, Sweden’s Autoliv is seen receiving a large amount as 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.
According to U.S. research firm Transparency Market Research projects, the global market for air bags is growing 8% a year on average and will reach $29.7 billion in 2020 as more vehicles are being equipped with the devices to improve safety.