The Bajio region in Central Mexico holds more than 40 percent of the Mexican population, as well as the same percentage of its GDP. This makes it a very important area for manufacturing activity, and the perfect place for an AMT trade mission. 

In April, 10 executives from 10 AMT member companies visited some key manufacturing facilities in this region. These included global companies that have been long established in the region such as Cummins and Bosch (both of which are making expansions), in addition to other more recent additions such as the General Motors SLP complex and GKN in Celaya. 

Additionally, they also visited domestic companies in the area like Tremec and CNH, which have grown to expand their global reach, providing the region with new jobs and economic development. Also on the agenda was a job shop called Magonza, which offered the group a glance at the market dynamics for tier 3 and 4 companies and the potential for growth for the lowest level of the value chain: the SMEs.

Happily, the overall impressions were quite favorable not only in the region but in industrial Mexico overall. During the week, two major investments were confirmed for the Bajio region: Ford, with a new $1.6 billion USD assembly facility for small autos, and Michelin’s announcement of a $600 million USD investment in Guanajuato state. Northern Mexico is seeing activity as well, as KIA is just starting to ramp up production in Monterrey and various Japanese transplants are initiating production in the region (such as Hakkai’s newly announced facility in Monterrey). The 2016 automotive industry revenue in Mexico is projected to be above $175 billion USD, with more than 3.5 million cars to be manufactured in Mexico for the year.

These were some key findings from the visits:

  • Many of the facilities are now “owners of their destiny” in regard to decision making to procure machine tools, manufacturing technology, and to plan mid- and long-term manufacturing strategies, as stated by GKN, Cummins, CNH and Tremec, to quote a few.
  • The majority of the metalworking industry is now integrating R&D centers to “tropicalize” and innovate in the manufacturing systems being used.
  • Many companies are concentrating their global procurement of purchased components in the Mexican facilities, so by visiting the Latin American corporate location, you get access not only to the demand for the local plant but added demand for the regional if not global requirements.
  • Local industry is expecting proximity from manufacturing technology suppliers for things such as spare parts, safety stocks of strategic components, and Mexican talent that can support and train their operators in the systems being installed.  

Members also had favorable comments about the trip:

  • “AMT trade missions are an invaluable look into Mexico’s thriving and growing industrial market,” said a grinding equipment manufacturer.
  • “This was a very helpful tour where I learned a lot about the automotive market in Mexico, and also an excellent way to get to know other AMT members.” 
  • “My company is ready to enroll in future trade missions organized for Mexico.”
  • “The visits to these companies validates the potential business awaiting us in Mexico, the GM visit was enough to pay back the expenses of the trip!” - Metal cutting system manufacturer
  • “Definitely coming back in two years; the growth potential in Mexico is extremely promising”
  • “AMT does an outstanding job in setting up and organizing these events.”
  • “The AMT trade mission was an excellent opportunity to meet key players at world class and expanding manufacturers. I made several contacts during the tours and networking events that would have been difficult to do on our own”

In addition to these facility visits, AMT organizes networking events with key players in the local industry, universities and economic development agencies that become quite valuable to our members in follow-up visits as they build “relationship capital” in the region.

AMT Mexico also presented members with a collection of “best practices” as captured in our many visits with local industry as well as benchmarking what our members’ competitors do in successfully establishing a footprint in Mexico. All our members attending the trip left with a clearer picture of the market potential, the next steps they need to take, and the additional resources they have at their disposal through AMT Mexico to support their sales and marketing efforts in the region, such as talent acquisition, service and support, warehousing, market intelligence, and access to nontraditional markets, to name a few.

The opportunity is there! AMT Mexico is ready to support your efforts and wants to thank those members who took part in the 2016 trade mission to Central Mexico 2016.