Mexico, once mainly a source of low-cost, low-skill auto parts, has matured into a sophisticated manufacturing and export hub.
Visteon Corp. and Delphi Corp. have moved most of their North American manufacturing to Mexico. The country's universities are graduating a growing number of engineers.
Mexico passed Canada in vehicle production in 2008 and widened its lead last year. Seven automakers -- Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG -- operate 12 assembly plants there.
Production of advanced, highly engineered components, including engines, axles and others, is growing. Volkswagen and GM are building engine plants in Mexico.
And while the United States is rebounding from recession, Mexico is bouncing back faster. Its auto exports to the United States, Central America and South America are surging.
Mexico, where auto sales last year dropped 27 percent since the peak in 2006, has been riding a wave of exports to the United States and elsewhere. Last year Mexico produced 2.3 million vehicles, up 15 percent from 2006.