Mexico is beginning to feel the effect of a declining economy in the United States. DaimlerChrysler Mexico announced at the end of January that one-tenth of the German-U.S. carmaker's 26,000 job cuts worldwide would be in Mexico.
'The restructuring program means closing three of our six Mexico plants,' confirmed DaimlerChrysler spokesman Manuel Duarte in early February. 'These are , but they are for the good of the company.' Toluca's transaxle plant is to close in October, followed by its engine plant next year, while the Lago Alberto light-truck plant in Mexico City will close in the second quarter of 2002.
With 76 percent of Mexico's total vehicle production destined for the U.S. market, plants here could hardly escape the cuts. In the case of DaimlerChrysler Mexico, 85 percent of exports go to the United States.
The Toluca assembly plant, which produces the strong-selling PT Cruiser, will not be affected. But Mexican workers are learning that having their fates tied to individual vehicle lines also can be bad. On January 26, General Motors Mexico said it would suspend production of its slow-selling Pontiac Aztek.