The Volkswagen Puebla automotive assembly plant is the largest passenger vehicle production facility in the Americas, and is the largest VW manufacturing plant outside of Germany. It employs around fifteen thousand people. An approximate twelve thousand of these individuals are directly involved in production floor activities.

Volkswagen’s plans for the future include the investment of seven billion dollars in North America by the end of the present decade. One of the decisions that will be made within relatively short order is whether or not the Puebla automotive assembly plant will be the location at which Volkswagen chooses to manufacture its new seven person SUV. If not manufactured in Puebla, Mexico, it is most likely that the new vehicle will be produced at the VW Chattanooga, Tennesse plant. That facility was built in 2011.

The company’s Puebla automotive assembly facility manufactures two types of Jettas, as well as produces two of VWs Beetle models. Last week, the latest version of the VW Golf began rolling off Mexican production lines there.

In recent years, Mexico has been the largest recipient of automotive industry foreign direct investment in the Western Hemisphere. This influx of capital has been lead primarily by Asian automotive OEMs such as Nissan, Honda and Mazda. Competitive pressures are prompting Hyundai to explore options for manufacturing some of their models in Mexico, as well, to serve its North and South American consumer bases. In additon to possessing a trained workforce that is available at globally competitive rates, Mexico has created strong direct linkages between its secondary, trade school and university level educational institutions and the automotive industry, as well as has partnered with it directly on the firm level. For instance, VW’s Puebla automotive assembly facility houses a “Training Institute.”

More than one thousand local high school students apply for the approximately one hundred positions. The students that show the greatest aptitude in mathematics and physics are those that are chosen to participate. Once the training starts, the students are immersed in a program that is twenty percent theoretical and eighty percent practical.

In addition to available labor at globally competitive costs, part of Mexico’s allure for manufacturers in Europe and Asia is a result of Mexico having negotiated a number of free trade agreements that give the product rolling off the Puebla automotive assembly lines, as well as those made in other Mexican sited plants, duty free access to large consumer markets such as the EU in its entirety, Japan and the Mercosur nations in South America, in addtion to the whole of North America.

With the competive advantages that Mexico offers as an automotive manufacturing location, it is likely that the country’s light vehicle assembly prospects will be bright for the foreseeable future

Read the primary source for this post at Yahoo Singapore News.