The Automotive Industry in Mexico

In 2016, Mexico was positioned as the seventh largest producer of vehicles in the world and the largest producer of light vehicles in Latin America, surpassing Brazil with more than one million units. During that year, the production and export of light and heavy vehicles established a new high record in the country. It is important to note the growth that Mexico has experiences as an international vehicle producer, overtaking France, Canada and Spain, countries with a long tradition in the automotive sector.

In 2016, the automakers and auto parts industries accounted 3.3% of the country's GDP and 19.6% of its manufacturing GDP.

Light vehicle production grew by 2.0%, going from 3.4 million units in 2015, to 3.5 million in 2016, hitting a new record for assemblers in Mexico. On the other hand, the heavy vehicle industry recorded more than 151 thousand units, and the production forecast is 270 thousand units for 2020.

Mexico is a producer of vehicles of great quality and innovation. Vehicles made in Mexico comply with high standards and are sold in the most demanding and competitive international markets.


Mexican vehicle exports in 2016 reached 2.8 million units. While the United States continues to be the leading export market for Mexican cars and trucks, it is not their only destination, as Mexican vehicles are also exported to Europe, which in recent years has increased its share in Mexican exports. In 2014 and 2015, the number increased to 115,739.

Companies Established in Mexico

Mexico's automotive and auto parts industries have been boosted by the arrival of vehicle assemblers (light and heavy) from around the world, such as: Audi, BMW, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. There are a total of 23 companies production complexes in 14 Mexican states, engaged in activities that range from assembly and bullet-proofing to vehicle and engine casting and stamping. More than 50 car and light truck models are currently produced in Mexico.

Most assemblers in Mexico have auto parts companies located near their plants to satisfy supply and delivery time demands.

Mexico offers assemblers high manufacturing capacity as well as the design and production of models to the highest quality standards and which are sold in markets with the highest demand. These are some examples:

  • Mexico went from an exporter of simple manufacturing to an innovation generator. There are more than 30 automotive design centers in the country.

One of the leading car production plants in North America are in Mexico: Nissan Aguascalientes, which manufactured more than half million units in 2016.

  • With recent investment announcements of Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz and Infiniti, Mexico has been positioned as an important country in the manufacture of luxury vehicles.
  • According to Ward's Automotive, one engine assembled in Mexico have been included in the "Top Ten Engines" for 2015.
    • The DOHC VC-6/Dual Motor PHEV by Fiat Chrysler, assembled in Saltillo, Coahuila. This engine is incorporated in the Chrysler Pacific and Hybrid models.
  • During the Auto Show in Detroit 2015, the Golf GTI was announced as the winner of the North American Car of the Year, beating the Ford Mustang and Hyundai Genesis.

Attraction of Foreign Direct Investment

Mexico's automotive and auto parts industries accounted for 17,3% of total foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016. According to the Secretariat of Economy, the terminal automotive industry attracted 5,095 million dollars in 2016. Accumulated FDI in the terminal automotive and auto parts industries in the 2010-2016 period was 29,160 billion dollars.

Strengths of the Automotive Industry in Mexico

Competitive Costs. According to the KPMG study Competitive Alternatives 2016, compared with the US, Mexico offered a 12.3% savings in manufacturing costs of parts, 9.8% in precision components, 15.2% in plastic supplies and 16.3% in metal components used industry.

Experience. The first automotive plant was established in Mexico in 1921; that shows Mexico's long tradition in this industry. Products made in Mexico have positioned the country as a platform for vehicle, part and component development and manufacture with the highest and strictest international quality standards.

Wide Supply Network. The renowned quality of Mexican automotive manufacturing has enabled several assemblers to choose Mexico as the sole manufacturing platform for their markets. Many models sold around the world are produced exclusively in Mexican plants, for example, the Ford Fusion, Lincoln Zephyr MKZ and Volkswagen Beetle.

Talent. According to data published by INEGI, 901,419 people were employed by the automotive and auto parts manufacturing industries as of December 2016.

  • Most engineers and technicians in Mexico speak English as a second language, as reported in the study "Situación Actual y Plan de Acción para Mejorar el Desarrollo Tecnológico del Sector Automotriz en México" by AT Kearney, INA and AMIA.
  • According to National Association of Universities and Institutions of Higher Education's data, 125 thousand engineering and technology students graduated annually from Mexican institutions.

Strategic Location.

  • The leading auto parts companies from North America, Europe and Asia have established in Mexico to ensure "just-in-time" deliveries and increase the production flexibility required by assemblers.
  • Mexico is located at the heart of the automotive world, where the two leading manufacturing corridors of North America converge.


Light vehicles and their Engines

Heavy vehicles and their Engines

Centers of research and development

    Automotive and engines manufacturing plants

    Light vehicles produced, 2016

    Graduates from Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction programs



    Success stories

    Sizeable investments and projects have recently arrived in Mexico, including:


    The first KIA plant in Mexico. With an investment of $ 1,000 MD and 3,000 jobs and a production capacity of 300,000 units per year. It produces the Forte model in its two versions, sedan and hatchback with an expected production volume of 110,000 units as of December 2016. It is located in Pesquería, Nuevo León, and started operations on May 16, 2016.

    COMPAS (Daimler-Renault-Nissan)

    With an investment of $ 1,200 million dollars and 5,700 jobs, Daimler and Renault-Nissan carried out the construction of a manufacturing plant for premium vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti brands. The plant named "COMPAS" (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes) will be located in Aguascalientes and its production will be destined to the markets of North America, Europe and Asia. The models that will produce in this plant are the Q30 and QX30 of Infiniti and the CLA model of Mercedes-Benz. It was inaugurated on November 17, 2016