Through NAFTA and the maquiladora system, Mexico’s economic performance and recent improvements, particularly in the manufacturing sector, have led to the emergence of several important clusters, with a large share of global exports. Studying the symbiotic relationships of these industry clusters is advantageous in that it identifies opportunities for growth and strategic targeting in regards to the supplier-manufacturer-purchaser value chain. Let’s take a brief look at the three principal industry clusters in Mexico are in the areas of : Automotive, Aerospace, and Medical Devices.
Automotive cluster in Mexico
The history of automotive cluster, primarily based in Mexico’s central region, dates back to 1925, when Ford built a manufacturing plant in Mexico City. It employed 295 employees, whose job it was to assemble the then cutting-edge Model T. Since that time, the industry has grown substantially, and performance of this activity in aggregate terms has been strong, particularly in recent decades, when compared to other industry clusters in Mexico. Following NAFTA, the automotive industry went from representing 16% of Mexican manufacturing GDP in 2001 to 20% in 2011. Such expansion in capacity came with increasing exports and imports. In addition to manufacturing, many of the automotive companies in Mexico are active in R&D research. Nissan, Ford, Chrysler, Volkswagen, and GM have recently opened new design and engineering centers. Other industry-leading companies thriving within Mexico’s automotive and transportation industry cluster are Chrysler-Fiat, Audi, Scania, Mercedes Benz-Freightliner, Volkswagen, and Isuzu.
Among the other prominent industry clusters in Mexico, is a thriving aerospace grouping, encompassing both civil and military segments. Mexico’s share of the global aerospace and defense (A+D) market grew about 4% in 2011, reaching a value of US $1,128.5 billion. Forecasters predict that Mexico’s share of this lucrative market will reach a value of US $1,238.7 billion by 2016.
The military sector contributed US $836.1 billion, while the civil segment contributed the equivalent to US $292.4 billion to the Mexican economy in 2011. The conditions suited to flexible and increasingly complex production, R&D, and engineering capabilities are easily found in Mexico, as evidenced by the in country proliferation of such major aerospace companies, such as Bombardier, Safran Group, GE, Honeywell, and Eurocopter.
Mexico’s Medical Device cluster is situated mainly in Baja California (with its center in the city of Tijuana), which leads North America in employment levels amongst medical device manufacturing regions. With more than 32,000 employees in 2013 and over 40 medical device manufacturers operating in one of the most active industry clusters in Mexico, it’s not surprising that an impressive diversity of medical device manufacturing in Mexico is taking place. This industry segment is responsible for a high volume of dentures, hemodialysis components, infusion pumps, lenses, nebulizers, oximeters, pacemakers, stents, catheters,wheelchairs, and a wide variety of medical disposables and related products. .Tijuana’s medical device industry is presently growing at an average annual rate of 7.2%. Likewise, the number of employees continues to grow, with more than 11,000 positions added to this thriving industry cluster in Mexico since 2004.