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

Foreign investments continue to pour into Central and South America, particularly in the automotive segments. FANUC breaks ground on an $8 million facility. Agriculture machinery and equipment see big gains. For more industry intel and tidbits, read on.
by Carlos Mortera
Apr 30, 2021

Foreign investments continue to pour into Central and South America, particularly in the automotive segments. FANUC breaks ground on an $8 million facility in Mexico. Agriculture machinery and equipment see big gains in Brazil. Argentina celebrates nine straight months of growth spurred on by manufacturing activity. For more industry intel and tidbits, read on. 

Mexico

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

  • ZF, the German automotive supplier, will invest $60 million in Querétaro to expand its plant, which will generate 500 new jobs. The expansion will start in May 2021 with additional areas for their manufacturing and assembly processes.

  • The Mexican die and mold industry continues to strengthen. Global Tool and Die Ltd., a Canadian company, is investing $2.5 million in a new facility in Guanajuato state. The company focuses on the repair and design of molds for the automotive industry.

  • FANUC began construction on a new operations center in Aguascalientes. The $8 million facility will include assembly, offices, and a showroom.

  • Linde, a chemical company, is investing $50 Million in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, in a new plant to generate carbon dioxide. The production capacity of this plant is 80,000 tons a year. 

  • Martinrea, a Canadian tier-one auto supplier, announced its expansion in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, with an investment of $20 million. Since 2017, the company has invested over $4.4 billion in the country.

  • The state of Nuevo León reported 24 confirmed investment projects with companies such as Hisense and Nidec. In 2020, 12% of Mexico’s FDI ended up in this industrial state.

  • Germany’s Swoboda Mechatronics is investing $30 million for a second plant in Querétaro due to North American demand. This investment will generate 400 additional direct jobs.

Argentina

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

  • Whirlpool announced an investment of $40 million to develop a new plant in Argentina, generating over 1,000 new jobs.

  • Volkswagen Argentina began production of its Taos, the first SUV manufactured in the country. This represented a total investment of $650 million in its plant located in Centro Industrial Pacheco, located in Buenos Aires

  • Economic activity in Argentina reported its ninth straight month of growth and is currently only 1.3% below pre-COVID pandemic levels. Manufacturing activity played a key role in this growth with an annual increase of 4.6%

Costa Rica

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

  • East West, Samtec, Amazon, ICU Medical, and Sykes y Proquinal have recently announced additional investments to expand their footprint in Costa Rica, as they see the country as a strategic manufacturing hub.

  • The economy is expected to grow up to 2.7% in 2021, as they are rolling up a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Manufacturing output in March showed growth of 2.4% YOY.

Colombia

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

  • So far this year, seven investment projects have been approved in Valle de Cauca, totaling more than $10 million and generating 1,210 jobs. For the rest of the year, there are over 20 potential projects being considered with a total investment of $120 million.

Brazil

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

  • Local steel manufacturer Gerdau will invest over $200 million in expanding production capacity at three plants: Mogi das Cruzes, Pindamonhangaba and Charqueadas. Plans are to supply the demand from the automotive and machinery/equipment segments, which have been heavily affected by the shortage of steel.

  • Eaton Brazil is now the exclusive supplier of transmissions for all of Volkswagen’s heavy trucks manufactured in country. Eaton is also the leader in supplying transmissions for medium and light-duty trucks for other Brazilian OEMs. These transmissions are specially developed with extra features for the local rough pavement road conditions. Eaton is now working on developing solutions for an increasingly popular family of electric trucks.

  • Local auto parts manufacturer Takao recorded 60% YOY growth in Q1 2021 after recording only 10% growth in 2020 against 2019. Takao is focused on the after sales market and has been one of the most successful engine component manufacturers in the country.

  • Brazilian air compressor manufacturer Schulz will invest $50 million in expanding production capacity at its Joinville sites. Investments will focus on the purchase of new machinery and expansion of Industry 4.0 capabilities.

  • Açotubo will invest $40 million through 2023. Plans are to expand production of steel products and improve distribution to supply high demand in the domestic market. Açotubo has also invested heavily in its international expansion throughout Latin America.

  • Thyssenkrupp keeps working on its strategy of domestic production of components. Once the company is done with investments on production lines of heavy components, the focus will be on camshaft production. Thyssenkrupp has been recording a steady 15% growth YOY in Brazil for more than five years.

  • Brazilian Imagem Automação e Usinagem keeps investing in improving technologies. The company grew 100% in 2020 YOY and expects to grow by 200% in 2021 due to the shortage of components and the competitiveness of domestic products versus imported ones.

  • Truck production continues recovering. March’s numbers were 48% better YOY, while the first quarter was 33% higher YOY. The growth is due to the strong construction, mining, and agriculture sectors.

  • Agriculture machinery and equipment sales grew 55% in the first quarter YOY. The segment is expected to prosper in 2021 and record even better numbers than the 18% growth recorded in 2020.

Chile

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

  • Chile is incentivizing green hydrogen projects by offering financing and technology support to entrepreneurs in this sector.

  • In the first quarter, Chile reported more than 100 investments in mining projects for a total amount of $25 billion.

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Author
Carlos Mortera
International Director, Latin America
Joined AMT in 2002, after an international tenure living and Brazil and travelling extensively thru South America. Carlos graduated from Monterrey In ...
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