German auto parts manufacturer Hella inaugurated a $150 million headlight plant in the central Mexican city of Irapuato.

The factory will initially employ 250 people, but the staff is expected to grow to 1,500 as production ramps up, Hella Iluminacion director Ignacio Moreno said.

"With this investment we will generate a positive impact in the short and medium term in the economy in Irapuato, the state of Guanajuato, in the Bajio region and in the country, making clear our commitment to the development of Mexico and its people," he said.

The plant is projected to turn out nearly 3 million units a year for several different automakers.

Present for the ceremony was Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, who called the Hella factory a sign both of investor confidence in the Aztec nation and of the growing importance of Mexico's automotive sector, which has seen $3.5 billion in new investment over the past 13 months.

Hella, founded in 1899, employs nearly 30,000 people in more than 35 countries and is one of Germany's 100 largest industrial companies. EFE