Arvin Sango Inc. has expanded its joint-venture exhaust and stamping plant in Madison, IN, six times since it opened in 1987, and it appears another growth spurt may be just around the corner.

The 50-50 joint venture between Sango Co. Ltd. (a Japanese exhaust producer serving Toyota Motor Corp.) and what now is ArvinMeritor Inc. celebrates its 20th anniversary in rural southern Indiana.

The plant has expanded, and the joint venture has added two more U.S. plants to support Toyota's vehicle-assembly operations, which have ramped up massively.

The other Arvin Sango plants are in Merced, CA, (it opened in 1995 and employs 65 people) and Campbellsburg, KY, (opened in 2001 and employs 90). The Madison plant employs about 750. Combined sales from the three plants in 2005 was $300 million.

Arvin Sango has 75% of Toyota's North American exhaust business. The other 25% rests with Tenneco Inc.

At a recent celebration in Madison, local dignitaries were buzzing with word Arvin Sango was negotiating to purchase an additional 40 acres (16 ha) adjacent to the plant for another expansion.

Dan Baughman, executive vice president and secretary/treasurer of Arvin Sango, tells Ward's the company needs space for additional production of exhaust manifolds and catalytic converters.

“We're running out of room here,” Baughman says of the Madison plant. Baughman says the Madison plant has been profitable every year except one — when it first opened.

The sixth and latest $15 million expansion, which added 30,000 sq.-ft. (2,787 sq.-m) of production space for two stamping presses to support the Toyota Corolla, begins output in fall 2007.

Madison welds, fabricates and bends steel products, primarily exhaust systems. Production began in October 1988. In 2005, the plant manufactured 3,090,750 exhaust systems, and each month it produces 3 million steel stampings. Starting pay at the non-union facility is about $14 per hour, topping out at about $16.