Jason McDaniel | Commercial Vehicle Group
The massive Phillips complex in Arteaga, Coahuila, Mexico, which includes Phillips Industries and Phillips Connect, is surrounded by picturesque mountains.

'Just getting warmed up': Phillips expands operations in Mexico

March 13, 2023
A new 500,000 sq.-ft. facility in Arteaga, Mexico, will produce Phillips Industries and Phillips Connect products for North American commercial truck and trailer customers.

ARTEAGA, Coahuila, Mexico—Phillips Industries first arrived in Saltillo, Mexico, 15 years ago, manufacturing its commercial truck and trailer products in a facility that measured 35,000 sq. ft. Over the years, that facility grew to 70,000 sq. ft. before doubling in size again.

Now, the company is celebrating the grand opening of a new 500,000-sq.-ft. facility that lies in an industrial valley amid the mountains here in Arteaga. The reconfigured and newly constructed buildings on the Phillips campus will produce products destined for Phillips Industries and Phillips Connect customers in North America. 

"We are not done growing," Phillips CEO Rob Phillips said during a ceremony March 8. "In fact, we are just getting warmed up."

Phillips first came to Mexico for production of wiring harnesses in 2007 and moved to a larger location in Arteaga in 2015 to meet the growing demands of its Phillips Industries OEM customers.

The new building in Arteaga, completed in 2022, now will house all Phillips Industries manufacturing operations, including those already in Mexico, and all production lines relocated from their former location in Santa Fe Springs, California. Phillips currently is in the process of transferring all its California production lines and capacity to the expanded facility in Mexico—a move prompted by workforce challenges in the U.S.

"It is very hard to get any employees to show up to work," Phillips said. "At Phillips, we flexed our manufacturing for years. We have a 24-hour lead time—we take the order today, build it tomorrow, and ship it tomorrow night. That’s what we’ve done for years, and we’ve had challenges the last three years because we can’t get employees like we used to. If we lose anyone in California now, we can’t get anyone back. The workforce challenges in California are real. We are not having those same issues in Mexico."

The company pointed to various technical school and internship programs in the area in Mexico, as well as connections with main industrial cities in Mexico that provide easy access to seaports and airports. 

See also: Phillips expands, adds new business unit to group of companies

Phillips Industries also invested more than $1 million in the last two years in new equipment for its trucks and aftermarket business. And in 2022, Phillips added new production lines to its facility in Mexico to further increase capacity. For trailers, Phillips Industries invested more than $2 million in the last two years, with five extra production lines expected to be added by the end of March. 

Currently, Phillips manufactures 11,000 products per week for commercial truck OEMs, including cables, air hoses, harnesses, lighting, and coils. The company also enhanced its mold tool shop capabilities at the new facility. By Q2 2023, the company intends to ramp up production to 20,000 truck parts per week. For the aftermarket and after adding additional production lines from its California location, Phillips expects to produce 28,000 pieces of equipment per week, ramping production capacity up to 40,000 parts by Q2. 

Directly across the street from the new factory is Phillips Connect, the former home of Phillips Industries, where the company will manufacture various sensors and telematics gateways for trailers. Phillips also just launched a new business unit, Phillips Innovations, during American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council's 2023 Annual Meeting just a week prior.

"With all of this together, we will really be able to support the industry, the region with new jobs, plus investments in solar and radar technologies," Phillips noted.

By the end of 2023, Phillips expects to employ 2,100 people in Arteaga. Phillips headquarters will remain in California and serve as the base for customer service, accounting, research development, and other support functions for North America, Europe, Phillips Connect, and Phillips Innovations.

This article was originally published on FleetOwner.com

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore is the Executive Editor of FleetOwner magazine. She has reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

About the Author

Jason McDaniel

Sponsored Recommendations

Repair, Replace or Retire - Grab Your Calculator

Don't make the mistake of ignoring fleet maintenance. Learn how to be proactive instead of reactive and reduce up to 70% of breakdowns.

Mobil Delvac™ oils give race car haulers winning edge

See how Mobil Delvac™ oils boosted the Tony Stewart Racing Team

The Technician’s Guide for Mastering DPF Regens

Become a regen expert today! Equip yourself with the skills necessary to recognize when a forced regen is the correct procedure to maximize the lifespan of your filter and keep...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...