Greenville News – Michelin executives say a plant under construction in central Mexico will have no impact on South Carolina operations. The French tire maker plans to build its 21st North American plant in Leon, Guanajuato, to produce tires for passenger cars and light trucks. The $510 million plant is expected to commence production in late 2018 and initially make up to 5 million tires a year to supply auto factories in Mexico and the North American consumer market, according to Michelin.
By Mónica Ortiz Uribe / PRI
They make everything from puppy chew-toys to Dell computers to giant wind turbines, but when they try to form a union, they face big trouble.
For half a century, multinational companies have flocked to Ciudad Juárez in search of cheap labor at the doorstep of the United States. Today, El Paso’s neighbor has the largest labor force along the US-Mexico border. In good times, about 200,000 workers are employed at more than 300 factories.
Workers help fuel a half-trillion dollars in annual trade between the US and Mexico, a figure that’s grown six-fold in the last two decades. That’s brought prosperity to American border cities like El Paso, where one out of every four jobs is tied to trade and per capita income is rising at a faster pace than the national average.
But on the Mexican side, the peso has been falling in value, while wages have not kept up. According to a study by Mexico’s National Autonomous University, Mexico’s minimum wage has lost 78 percent of its value in the last 30 years.
A study by the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at the University of Texas at El Paso shows factory wages in Juárez are among the lowest in Mexico, and plant manager salaries are among the highest. When compared to manufacturing wages in China, Mexico is now 40 percent cheaper.
“You can’t live on our salaries,” says Brenda Estrada, a former employee of one border manufacturer, the American telecommunications giant CommScope. “You just survive.”
Estrada is among those who say CommScope fired them last year for forming a union.
Sentido Comun – French aerospace company Safran Group opened a new $40 million plant to repair parts of commercial aircraft engines in the state of Querétaro. The new plant is the company’s fifth in that state and the tenth in Mexico.
Sentido Comun – Proteak One, the only Mexican forestry company listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange, announced the start of operations at its plant in medium density boards, also known as MDF, in Huimanguillo, in the state of Tabasco, after investing $200 million.
BizTimes – Strattec Security Corp. plans to build a facility in Leon, Mexico for the production of car door handles as part of an ongoing joint venture with ADAC Automotive.
SeeNews – NEXTracker has started manufacturing solar trackers in Mexico. The California-based company is using the manufacturing presence in Mexico of its new owner, electronics production services provider Flextronics.
WSJ – Mexico’s industrial production was weaker than expected in November, falling from the previous month and edging up just 0.1 percent from a year earlier, the National Statistics Institute said Monday.
Financial Times – Despite being a major oil producer, Mexico has long been held back by uncompetitively high energy prices. But salvation may be at hand, in the form of imported energy, providing a major boost to the Latin American country’s manufacturing sector.
EFE – Swiss multinational food and beverage company Nestle inaugurated a $220 million pet food factory in Silao in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, the firm’s 15th in Mexico.
With wages rising rapidly in China, Mexico once again has become an attractive manufacturing hub—even to the Chinese.
On Oct. 27, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co. signed a preliminary agreement with Jalisco to build an industrial park that would potentially house dozens of Chinese manufacturers, Reuters reported.
The deal underscores the big shift in production costs across the two countries.
In 2000, workers in Mexico’s manufacturing sector earned nearly 60 percent more than their Chinese counterparts.
Now they earn 11 percent less.
Sentido Comun -Panasonic Ecology Systems will establish in Tijuana a new production center for ceiling fans to better serve the growing business of Ventilation of North America.
Sentido Comun – Ethan Allen Interiors, designer, manufacturer and distributor of home furnishings, will invest $15 million to build a second production facility in Silao, Guanajuato.
Reuters – Mexican industrial output unexpectedly rose in July, helped by rising oil production and stronger construction, but factory output shrank, official data showed on Friday.
El Economista – Of the candidates for maquiladora jobs requiring technical work, 71 percent have educational or physical health deficiencies, a survey revealed. The results, covering surveys in 250 factories, showed that 42 percent cannot read, write or handle mathematical or have the ability to follow directions.
CNBC – A number of factors influenced Mexico’s slow but steady rise as a manufacturing hub for multinational corporations, including NAFTA, other trade agreements, cheap labor costs and proximity to the United States. But observers point to another recent development that they see accelerating investment in Mexico and boosting economic productivity: Electricity is getting cheaper.
Reuters – Mexican industrial output rose in June, bouncing back from a steep drop in the previous month as manufacturing, construction and oil production picked up, official data showed on Tuesday.
Industry Week – Mexico’s factories continue to expand and the country is expected to be the manufacturing growth leader in Latin America through 2016, according to a MAPI Foundation report.
Business Journals – Caterpillar plans to move its vocational truck manufacturing operations from Escobedo, Nuevo Leon, to a plant in Victoria, Texas. Caterpillar opened the Victoria plant in 2012 and produces hydraulic excavators there. Now, it will expand the plant to design and manufacture vocational truck products.
Tire Business – Goodyear broke ground July 28 for the first plant it will build in the Americas in a quarter of a century. The 1 million-plus-sq.-ft. plant, representing an investment of up to $550 million, will be built on the southern edge of San Luis Potosí.
El Paso Times – Ciudad Juarez has become the largest producer of solar panels in Mexico and Latin America. The panels are exported to the United States and other countries in South America and Europe for residential, utility and commercial photovoltaic projects.