Mexico’s booming auto industry has reached a major milestone, claiming to have overtaken Japan as the second-biggest car exporter to the US in the past three months.
The Latin American nation now only trails Canada, but experts say Mexico could become the top exporter to its northern neighbor as soon as next year, a potent symbol of its growing global clout in the sector.
Industry analysts had expected Mexico to surpass Japan by the end of the year, but the Mexican Automobile Industry Association (AMIA) says it has happened faster than expected.
“It does not surprise me that they did [overtake Japan], and that number will even get bigger,” Michigan-based WardsAuto Group industry analyst Haig Stoddard said.
The figure came in an AMIA report this week showing record production in the first quarter, with 774,731 units rolling out of plants in Mexico, a 6.5 percent increase from the same period last year.
AMIA, using its own statistics and WardsAuto figures, said the US imported 428,376 “Made in Mexico” cars, compared with 408,405 from Japan between January and last month.
Analysts say the figures are credible.
Latin America’s second-biggest economy has steadily grown as a global power in the auto industry, with most of the production destined for exports.
It is the world’s eighth-biggest automaker and the No. 4 exporter.
Relatively low wages, being next door to the massive US market and a raft of free-trade deals with other nations have combined to make Mexico a prime location for automakers.
“Mexico will continue to grow very strongly in the next five years,” AMIA president Eduardo Solis said.
In addition to its ideal geographic location, Solis said Mexico is a major auto parts supplier, home to a skilled workforce and backed by a government that invites investment by foreign companies.
Ironically, Japanese automakers have had a major role to play in Mexico becoming a manufacturing powerhouse, with Nissan Motor Co, Mazda Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co building factories in the country.
“[Japanese firms are] building a lot more cars in the United States and Mexico,” Stoddard said. “Going forward there’s going to be more production in Mexico of Japanese cars.”
In November last year, Nissan opened a US$2 billion manufacturing complex in the central state of Aguascalientes, its third in Mexico, which is to raise the company’s output in Mexico by 25 percent to more than 850,000 vehicles per year.
In February this year, Honda inaugurated a sprawling US$800 million assembly plant in the central state of Guanajuato, where it is producing the Honda Fit hatchback.
That same month and in the same state, Mazda opened a US$770 million factory to build compact models.
US and European automakers have also made huge investments in Mexico in recent years.
TV and online retailer Momo.com Inc (富邦媒體) yesterday said it has set up a new logistics subsidiary, Fu Sheng Logistics Co (富昇物流), to oversee the company’s extensive shipping operations. Leveraging Momo’s 23 satellite warehouses and distribution centers nationwide, Fu Sheng will be in charge of executing the retailer’s same-day shipment plan for deliveries in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, Momo said in a press release. Seeking to further shorten its supply chain, the company is to set up another seven satellite warehouses and distribution centers by the end of the year. “Fu Sheng has a fleet of 200 couriers
‘ACCORDING TO PLAN’: A company official said that it has set up production sites worldwide to provide services and that its Wisconsin project was going smoothly Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) smart manufacturing center in Wisconsin would begin trial manufacturing in the middle of this year, the company said yesterday, adding that it plans to build a research institute to develop key technologies to support growth over the next five years. Hon Hai, known internationally as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), said in an annual report submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange that its planned Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology would conduct research into artificial intelligence, next-generation communications, quantum computing, cybersecurity and nano semiconductors in Taiwan. Hon Hai is to make products at the center
US-CHINA TENSIONS: The company said that it supplies self-designed chips to the Chinese company and, as such, is not affected by the latest US export restrictions Macronix International Co (旺宏電子) said it does not expect its shipments of memory chips to Huawei Technologies Co (華為) to be affected by the latest US export restrictions on the Chinese tech giant. “As long as the company [Huawei] places orders, we will ship [chips], unless the [Taiwanese] government restricts all Taiwanese companies from shipping” to Huawei, Macronix chairman and chief executive officer Miin Wu (吳敏求) said on Monday in Hsinchu. The US Department of Commerce on Friday took a further step to block chip supplies from non-US companies to Huawei by requiring foreign semiconductor makers to get US government permission before
E Ink Holdings Inc (元太科技), the world’s sole supplier of e-paper displays for e-readers and shelf labels, posted its best quarterly net profit for the first quarter in nine years amid increased demand during a traditionally slow season. Net profit soared 80 percent to NT$787 million (US$26.23 million) in the quarter ended March 31, compared with NT$438 million a year earlier. That translated into earnings per share of NT$0.69, up from NT$0.39. E Ink posted lower royalty income of NT$371.23 million last quarter from NT$448.74 million a year earlier, a company financial statement showed. E Ink said that it expects royalty income to