Chihuahua, Coahuila, the State of Mexico, Guanajuato, La Laguna, Nuevo Leon, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, and Tlaxcala have united their efforts to form an organized network of automotive manufacturing clusters in Mexico.

In a response to changes in the international economic environment, such as the trade war between the United States and China and the implementation of the new free trade treaty between the US, Mexico, and Canada (USMCA), nine of the country’s automotive manufacturing clusters in Mexico have joined together to create a formal associative network.  The principal objective of this group is to promote joint efforts to develop more extensive local supply chains for the industry.

Cesar Jimenez, president of the Nuevo Leon Automotive Cluster and executive chairman of Ternium Mexico, recently commented that “We have a clear vision of boosting the competitiveness of the automotive manufacturing clusters in the Guanajuato, Mexico area by creating productive linkages between private and government entities, as well as with academic institutions of industry research.” 

Jimenez also went on to point out that the industry will be affected by significant changes in the foreseeable future.  Notably, these changes include the increase of the regional content requirement for automobiles that are manufactured in North America rising from 62.5% to 75% under the United States-Mexico- Canada Free Trade Agreement and the changes to the supply chain that this will bring.  Other changes will come in the form of the development of new technologies that will be related to the popularization of self-driving vehicles and changes to the Mexican automotive industry that will result from a movement towards manufacturing 4.0.  Manufacturing 4.0 is the name given to the idea of the employment of smart factories where machines are augmented with web connectivity and linked to a system that can visualize the entire production process and make decisions on its own.

Manuel Montoya Ortega, general manager of the industry cluster of Nuevo Leon, who was recently appointed as the president of the national network of automotive manufacturing clusters in Mexico, has pointed out that plans to formalize a relationship between the ten participating regions have been in the works since 2016.

What is the purpose of the organization?

The network of automotive clusters in Mexico is formed by the groupings in Chihuahua, Coahuila, the State of Mexico, Guanajuato, La Laguna (Advanced and Automotive Manufacturing), Nuevo Leon, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi and the “Zona Centro” that is made up of the states of Puebla and Tlaxcala.

The main purpose of the national network of automotive manufacturing industry clusters in Mexico is to expand value chains that exist at the regional level.  An example of this is the grouping of Guanajuato, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, and Aguascalientes, which drive the automotive industry in the Bajio region, while in the northeast of the country a regional value chain has been long established in the Saltillo-Monterrey corridor.  This is the case in spite of the fact that Saltillo and Monterrey are cities that are in two different state entities.

An example of the actions taken collectively by the automotive manufacturing clusters in Mexico is the exchange of supplier database information by the group’s members.  Other information that is gathered and disseminated jointly by the clusters is data that has to do with human resources information and statistics such as staff turnover rates.

In addition to actions taken domestically, the automotive manufacturing clusters in Mexico have acted as a unified group for the purpose of making meaningful connections and undertaking collaborative efforts with the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) in the United States.  A partnership agreement that has been signed between the two organizations has been signed enables Mexican automotive industry companies to enjoy the benefits of free membership in AIAG.  The two organizations will work jointly in order to develop recommendations to benefit the health and productivity of the automotive industry throughout North America.

In addition to the international efforts that the network of automotive manufacturing clusters in Mexico is undertaking with its US counterpart, the group also has plans to work together in order to attract suppliers to the industry from throughout the world to set up Mexican operations.  Other future plans that the group has includes the establishment of training programs that can be taken advantages by all the companies that are members of the network.