Vehicle output grows in sunny Mexico
Through July, Mexico's light-vehicle production was up just 14 percent, compared with gains of 20 percent for Canadian production and 27 percent for U.S. output. But make no mistake: The sun is shining on Mexico as a producer of cars and light trucks.
Over the past 20 years, Mexico has grown its share of North American light-vehicle output to 18 percent through July of this year, up from 8 percent in 1992. Canada's share has remained flat at 16 percent during that time.
Carmakers built or expanded factories in the United States over those 20 years. Toyota opened plants in Princeton, Ind.; San Antonio and Blue Springs, Miss. Honda started production in Lincoln, Ala.; and Greensburg, Ind. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia and Volkswagen opened one each. But a number of Detroit 3 assembly plants closed. Net: The U.S. share of North American output dropped to 66 percent through July of this year from 76 percent in 1992.
Mexico did even better last year. With Japanese-owned factories in the United States and Canada struggling with post-earthquake parts shortages, Mexico, which has relatively fewer Japanese assembly plants, saw its share of North American production hit 20 percent in 2011.
Mexico's future is rosy. Audi, Honda and Mazda plan factories there; BMW is said to be considering one.