Armando Bravo Ortega, the director of the Automotive Industry Development Center in Mexico, or as it is known by its Spanish acronym, CEDIAM, recently explained that, although Mexico is known primarily as an automotive industry manufacturing country, it is now taking its first steps toward taking an active part in the design of passenger vehicles, as well. Today Mexican automotive design is limited, mainly, to small projects that are focused on interiors, however, he went on to further note that all the OEM’s in the country have design centers.

Although activity of this type happens mainly at OEM headquarters, Mexican automotive design, will, over time, move beyond soley interiors into the area of electronic and other systems such as controls. Many in the industry feel that the capability in these areas is already sufficiently developed to undertake such work. Still, there is work to be done by those involved in pursuing greater Mexican automotive manufacturing design activities, if the country’s industry is to be successful in global competition for a larger share of this activity with other developing countries such as India and China.

When asked why, although production capacity in Mexico has grown by leaps and bounds in the last several years, there has been a lag in the development of Mexican automotive design capabilities, Bravo Ortega explained that, ” for the most part, in the past, OEMs did not allow the design function to take place outside of company headquarters.” He explained that today, for tactical and economic reasons, automotive companies “are consolidating or concentrating activities in certain countries,” and that Mexico is “one of these nations.”

Mexican automotive design can become an increasing reality, because the nation has the capability to perform the tasks required to make it so. Design requires  Mexican manufacturing and engineering talent, which was in short supply when Mexico first began to assemble vehicles on a large scale. Such is not the case at present. In 2012, Mexico graduated one hundred and thirty thousand engineers from universities and technical schools. This number exceeded engineering graduates in Canada, Germany and Brazil, which has twice the population of Brazil.

The country will continue to move up the international value chain. More Mexican automotive design is in the country’s immediate future.

Read the primary source for this post in its original Spanish at Vanguardia.