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International News From the Field: Mexico, Brazil, and Latin America

Holding up well despite shocks from the war in Ukraine and global interest rate hikes, Brazil and Mexico remain solid and attractive to foreign investments, driving expansion, growth, and modernization. For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on.
Mar 15, 2023

Brazil

For more information, contact Achilles Arbex (aarbex@AMTonline.org).

  • WEG announces $20-million investments to expand the production capacity of lithium battery packs in Brazil. In addition to increasing the size of the current manufacturing building, the company will also build a new factory to meet the growing market demand for electric mobility and energy storage systems, especially for commercial vehicles. The investments will be made for the industrial site in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, the company's headquarters.

  • Volkswagen do Brasil is becoming a major supplier of die and mold tooling for passenger cars and commercial vehicle parts. The shop designs and produces stamping tooling for VW plants in Germany, Argentina, Mexico, China, and Hungary. With a strong vocation for business, VW’s shop is now an official supplier of tools for Scania Latin America.

  • Marelli, one of the world’s leading global independent suppliers to the automotive sector, is moving forward with plans for a new production line at its factory in Hortolandia, Sao Paulo, after an investment of $30 million to produce high-tech interiors, consoles, dashboard displays, and other parts for the automotive industry. Injection machines will be imported from Germany, while auxiliary equipment is being negotiated with Austrian and Italian suppliers.

  • Mecalor, a Brazilian manufacturer of machinery and equipment for thermal control, announced investments of $5 million to triple the production capacity of its site in Sao Paulo. The investment is intended to help supply the growing demand for exports to Latin American countries, especially Mexico.

  • Hitech Electric, a Brazilian EV manufacturer, is putting wheels in motion and preparing to supply the domestic market with EV passenger cars, urban cargo vehicles, and light commercial vehicles. The company recently announced a partnership with WEG to design and manufacture a powertrain (engine and inverter) and a battery that will improve the autonomy of its vehicles. Plans are to supply the domestic market with 1,000 units a year before expanding production.

  • Brazilian VLI, a logistics firm formerly owned by giant mining company Vale, announced an additional investment of $50 million in the purchase of nine brand-new locomotives from Wabtec. Locomotives will be entirely produced (engine, drivetrain, and axles) by Wabtec in its Contagem, Minas Gerais, facilities, the same production site as the units purchased at the first phase of this investment cycle. Total investment is around $100 million; all units should be delivered within the next 18 months to meet their operational needs for grain, fertilizers, fuel, and cellulose.

  • Brazilian auto parts conglomerate Randon Group, a global transportation company with 31 plants and a presence in over 120 countries, reported 23% net revenue growth in 2022. Exports were one of the main drivers for growth, supporting the merger and acquisition and expansion plans of the group. American Hercules and British Juratek were acquired in 2022, strengthening the position and presence of Randon in foreign markets. One of the highlights of 2022 was the expansion of the Rio Grande do Sul facilities' production capacity by adding 27 new CNC machines (single- and double-spindle horizontal and vertical lathes, machining centers, and automation).

  • Piracicaba, a city in southeast Brazil, reported investments of over $700 million in its manufacturing sector in 2022. A few examples are Klabin ($320 million in expanding cellulose production), Hyundai ($100 million in engine production), Wipro ($30 million in the production of actuators and hydraulic systems), Raizen ($100 million in expanding ethanol production capacity), GWM ($2 billion in passenger car production) and Caterpillar ($130 million in backhoe and wheel loader production). The region received more than $6 billion in investments in 2022.

  • Brazilian manufacturers of all sectors plan to invest $2.4 billion in machinery and equipment in 2023, according to a survey conducted by the Brazilian Association of Machinery and Equipment Industry (ABIMAQ). According to ABIMAQ, the resources will be destined for modernization, expansion of capacity, and replacement of machines. The largest volume should be invested in modernization (38%), followed by capacity expansion (31%) and new machines (27%). Small and medium-sized companies that are planning to expand their capacity and invest account for 49% of companies surveyed.

  • Petrobras and Equinor signed an agreement to evaluate seven offshore wind projects. The letter of intent expands the cooperation between the two companies to assess the technical, economic, and environmental feasibility of these seven offshore wind power generation projects off the Brazilian coast, which have the potential to generate up to 14.5 GW. Investments are expected to reach $70 billion.

Mexico

For more information, contact Carlos Mortera (cmortera@AMTonline.org).

  • Unilever announced an investment of $400 million to build a manufacturing plant for beauty products and personal care in Nuevo Leon.

  • BMW will invest $866 million in an electric car plant in San Luis Potosi, in line with goals for 2030 that incorporate electrification for the development of its products to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

  • Auto parts manufacturer Dana Cardanes inaugurated an expansion of its plant in Queretaro. The expansion includes a warehouse where three production lines of Cardan shafts for use in Toyota trucks will be installed. Nearly $22 million was invested and will generate 110 direct jobs, which may exceed 300 jobs once the three lines of the project are operational.

  • Canadian company SkyJack inaugurated its aerial platform vehicle manufacturing plant in Ramos Arizpe with an investment of $80 million. This plant will serve the manufacturing, machinery, and mining markets in the North American region, generating 460 new direct jobs in Coahuila.

  • Canadian automotive supplier Matcor Matsu will expand its Ramos Arizpe plant with an investment of $10 million. Vehicle seats and instrument panel structures will be manufactured in addition to welding and stamping.

  • Modineer Group inaugurated a new plant in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, with an investment of $30 million. The company specializes in manufacturing industrial supplies and metal parts and has 18 manufacturing plants worldwide. This is the first one in Mexico dedicated to manufacturing custom metal parts, welding, stamping, and painting.

  • Korean company MKDC, an auto parts manufacturer and supplier for Tesla, inaugurated a second plant in Coahuila. Its investment of $70 million will help generate 600 direct jobs.

  • Walor, a French manufacturer of stamped metal parts, inaugurated the new expansion of its manufacturing site in Irapuato within the Parque Centro Industrial de Guanajuato. Its investment of $10 million should help them reach sales of more than $27 million per year for customers like Autoliv and ZF.

  • HNI Corp. Mexico will expand its office furniture manufacturing plant in Saltillo with an investment of $106 million. The arrival of the company, which will be located in the Mencorsa Industrial Park, in the municipality of Arteaga, is intended to meet the growing demand for its products in neighboring countries to the north.

  • The Bendix company announced a new investment of $57 million to install the company's Plant IV in Acuna, Coahuila, to continue generating components such as brake systems for commercial vehicles.

  • Constellation Brands will increase the production capacity of its plant in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, with an investment of $1.5 billion. The company plans to expand its beverage production throughout the country with the 300 local suppliers it currently has.

  • Mergon inaugurated its first plant in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, with a $15 million investment. In its first stage, the company will generate around 150 direct jobs.

  • Volkswagen has set its sights on building an industrial park in 2023. The bidding process for constructing a new industrial park in the San Martin Texmelucan will begin, which will house Volkswagen Mexico's auto parts suppliers to produce four-wheel drive, four-cylinder cars.

PicturePicture
Author
Achilles Arbex
Director, Global Services
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