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

Latin America remains resilient amid shocks and tightening global financial conditions. In fact, a wave of investment is heading toward sectors such as wind energy, EVs, raw material production, and more. For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on.
Sep 13, 2023

Brazil

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

  • CNH’s Contagem plant has been appointed their global and exclusive supplier of bulldozers for the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific markets. CNH is upgrading the entire plant with a total investment of $25 million. Manufacturing processes have been upgraded with the latest Industry 4.0 innovations and technologies, which are required to maintain the high quality of the products being shipped worldwide.

  • Austrian Plasser’s grand opening of its newest plant in Hortolandia was held a few weeks ago. The company, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of operating in Brazil, already has a plant in Campo Grande, which specializes in developing and manufacturing machinery and equipment for the maintenance and construction of railways. Plasser will initially invest $15 million, and may double this amount within a year. Thirty employees are already working at the factory in space leased next to Amsted-Maxion facilities.

  • Comau designed and deployed automated body-in-white equipment at the Stellantis plant in Betim as part of a comprehensive retooling project to produce both the Fiat Pulse, the brand’s first SUV in Brazil, and the Fastback, its first SUV coupe and one of the company’s main launches. Comau provided high-speed body assembly systems for the main body, the body sides, and respot operations so two distinctly different SUVs could be produced on the same line. The company integrated vision systems, digital applications, and turnkey equipment into 74 automatic and 10 manual stations.

  • Wind energy reached more than 26.8 GW of installed capacity in Brazil, enough to supply 124 million inhabitants. Inserted into the National Interconnected System (SIN), this potential volume will be a record in 2023 compared to 2022, surpassing 2021. Between 2012 and 2022, the wind sector generated around $42 billion in public and private investments, and the expectation is that the sector will reach 52.9 GW of installed capacity in 2029, which would more than double the current capacity.

  • The Eletra electric bus, which is 100% made in Brazil, premiered in Manaus. It is a 12.1-meter-long vehicle with Eletra electric traction technology, Caio e-Millennium bodywork, WEG batteries, electric motors – all Brazilian companies – and a Mercedes-Benz chassis manufactured in Sao Bernardo do Campo in Sao Paolo. The bus is a low-floor vehicle equipped with air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and cellphone charging capabilities. It has a capacity for 70 passengers, emits zero pollutants, produces very low noise levels, travels up to a range of 160 miles, and hits a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour. Among its onboard equipment is the INbus, which allows you to view the capacity in real-time. All Eletra electric buses are produced in a 27,000-square-meter factory in Sao Bernardo do Campo. In the new, recently opened factory, Eletra will have the capacity to produce 150 electric buses per month, or up to 1,800 each year, and will be able to increase this production by 50% depending on demand.

  • Vehicle production in August (227,000 units) practically equaled the year's record of 228,000 units in May. August’s production represented an increase of 24% over July. So far this year, 1.54 million vehicles have been produced, a slight drop of 0.4% compared to the first eight months of 2022.

Mexico

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

  • Kuntai Co., a leader in the automotive sector, plans to establish its presence in Durango with an investment of $30 million. The company is dedicated to designing, developing, producing, and selling automotive soft interiors.

  • Hyundai Polytech will invest in a plant in Zacatecas. The plastic injection supplier signed a letter of intent with the state government to invest more than $20 million in a new plant to generate 300 new direct and indirect jobs. It detailed the company’s plans to produce plastic injection parts in Zacatecas for suspensions, sensors, motors, and electrical systems to supply large automotive manufacturers such as KIA and Hyundai.

  • Frisa will invest $200 million to expand its plants' production capacity in the municipalities of Garcia and Santa Catarina in Nuevo Leon, generating a significant expansion in steel production and forging. 

  • Indorama Ventures will invest in the expansion of its airbag plant in Puebla. With an investment of around $36 million, one out of every six airbags in cars on the road in North America will be produced in Puebla. 

  • Korean company MR InfraAuto will invest $30 million in a new plant in Zacatecas. The Tier 2 components supplier for seats, brakes, and transmissions will arrive in Zacatecas to generate 400 new jobs. It will be the first foreign investment from the automotive industry to arrive in the state since 2017.

  • Nuevo Leon has established itself as an electromobility hub with its recent agreements with Indian industrial conglomerate Tata Group and with the Indian state of Maharashtra to develop electromobility and technology best practices. The Tata Group owns prominent companies such as Tata Motors Ltd. and Jaguar Land Rover, leaders in automobile manufacturing and automotive technology. 

  • Paramount New Materials arrives in Coahuila with an investment of $200 million. The Chinese company dedicated to supplying aluminum for the automotive sector will install a large foundry and extrusion plant in the Alianza Industrial Park in Derramadero.

  • Recent data from INEGI reveals that last May, the 14 manufacturers of light vehicles and auto parts installed in Mexico operated, on average, at 98.7% of their installed capacity, the highest monthly level since 2007. This acceleration is due mainly to the recovery of the automotive market in the United States.

  • Japanese Kaga Electronics will invest $34 million to build a new plant in Mexico as part of an effort to capture the demand of the manufacturers of cars and vehicle components that are leaving China and moving to North America as part of the nearshoring effort.

  • Tesla’s investment in the gigafactory in Santa Catarina could be more than double what was initially planned, company sources in Austin said anonymously. Although magnate Elon Musk, president of Tesla, did not reveal the amount of the investment in his March 1 announcement, then-Undersecretary of Foreign Relations Martha Delgado mentioned that it would range between $4 billion and $5 billion.

  • Magna has announced the expansion of its lighting division in Queretaro, Mexico, following multiple business awards in rear lighting from various automakers. Expectations are that $17 million will be invested.

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Author
Achilles Arbex
Director, Global Services
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