ProMéxico MIM


The Automotive Industry in Mexico

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.

In 2012, the terminal automotive industry grew in three significant areas: the domestic market, exports and production. That year, the automotive industry accounted for approximately 4% of the country's GDP and 20% of its manufacturing GDP.

Light vehicle production grew by 12.7%, going from 2.6 million units in 2011, to 2.9 million in 2012, hitting a new record for assemblers in Mexico. On the other hand, the heavy vehicle industry recorded a 3.8% growth in production, with 138,078 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 Latin America, which in recent years has increased its share in Mexican exports.

In 2009, eight of every 100 light vehicles were exported to Latin America, while in 2012, the number increased to 15. According to AMIA, in 2012 Mexico continued to export a large number of vehicles to Brazil, in spite of the ACE 55 renegotiations.

Mexican vehicle exports in 2012 reached 2.5 million units, a 9.4% increase compared to 2011.

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: General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda, BMW, Toyota, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz. There are a total of 19 production complexes in 11 Mexican states, engaged in activities that range from assembly and bullet-proofing to vehicle and engine casting and stamping. More than 48 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:

  • Two of the leading car production plants in North America are in Mexico: Volkswagen Puebla and Nissan Aguascalientes. Volkswagen Puebla was the first major production plant in the area, producing 596,615 vehicles, and together, both plants manufactured more than one million units in 2012.

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

  • Mexico's evolution and significance in the automotive industry has been supported by investment in new projects, for example, the new "Made in Mexico" models, such as: Ford Fusion, Fiesta, and Lincoln MKZ; Nissan Note, Sentra, Versa and March; Chevrolet Trax, Captiva and Sil¬verado; Chrysler-Fiat Journey, Freemont and Fiat 500; Mazda 2 and 3; GM Sierra and Ca¬dillac SRX; Honda's CR-V and Fit; Volkswagen Golf VII, Bettle and Jetta, among others.

Attraction of Foreign Direct Investment

Mexico's automotive and auto parts industries accounted for 20.8% of total foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2012. This proves that Mexico is an attractive destination for investments in the automotive industry.

According to the Ministry of Economy, the terminal automotive industry attracted 861.7 million dollars in 2012. Accumulated FDI in the terminal automotive and auto parts industries in the 2006-2012 period is 13.283 billion dollars, an 8.8% share of total FDI received in Mexico during that period.

Strengths of the Automotive Industry in Mexico

  • Competitive Costs. According to Alix Partners 2011 US Manufacturing-Outsourcing Index, Mexico is the most competitive country in terms of manufacturing costs, which are approximately 21% lower than in the United States, 11% lower than in China and 3% lower than in India.

  • 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, 645,902 people were employed by the automotive and auto parts manufacturing industries as of December 2012.


    Most engineers and technicians in Mexico speak English as a second language, according to the report "Current Situation and Action Plan to Improve the Technology Development of the Automotive Industry in Mexico," carried out by AT Kearney, INA and AMIA.

    According to estimates by CONACyT, 111,400 engineering and technology students graduated in Mexico in 2012. Based on data published by UNESCO in 2010, there are 18% more engineering, manufacturing and construction graduates per capita in Mexico than in the United States.

  • 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.