General Motors Co. officially opened Colombias
first automobile manufacturing plant July 10.
The plant, owned by
Colombian unit GM Colmotores and located in the countrys
Zoficol industrial zone, will be able to stamp 11 body parts
for Chevrolet car models already assembled and sold in
Colombia. It also will make the new SailCo model, which has
been developed exclusively for the local market.
The plant marks the
Latin American nations change from "an assembler to a car
manufacturer," Colombian trade and industry minister Sergio
Díaz-Granados said at the commissioning ceremony in
Stamping and creasing,
two "new industrial processes not developed so far in the
country," will be part of the plants activities, GM
Up to 60,000 vehicles
will be manufactured each year at the plant, in which GM will
have invested $200 million by 2015.
"Thanks to this
project by GM Colmotores, Colombia is (now) the third country
in South America to manufacture body parts, after Brazil and
Argentina," the automaker said.
Despite the historical
landmark for Colombia and the replacement of imported body
parts, the Zoficol plant wont use Colombian steel.
"The steel that is
used in the body panels of a vehicle has a high or deep-drawing
capacity," Detroit-based GM said. "Such steel is not yet
produced in Colombia, so Zoficol will have to import it from
Japan, China, the USA, South Korea and Brazil."
Flat steel products
will be imported in coils and cut into steel blanks before
New car production
will initially go to the Colombian market, with GM later
"beginning plans to look for export markets," it added.
rates" will be granted to "the intermediate goods and raw
materials destined for the manufacture of auto parts and
vehicle assembly," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said
at the ceremony, said.
There are eight
automakers in Colombia, including GM Colmotores, with a total
assembly capacity of more than 320,000 units per year.
A version of this
article was first published in AMM sister publication Steel