The role of the automotive industry around the world is not only to create better and more technologically savvy vehicles. The automotive industry also helps to bring together countries and cultures, in a more effective way than any non-profit or government entity can.
Last Friday, August 29th, the president of Mexico’s Auto Parts National Association (INA) visited Michigan to speak about the new developments of this industry in his country to a large audience in the offices of Kostal North America in Troy.
Oscar Albin is no stranger to Michigan. Although he began as a young man working for Volkswagen as a buyer, he was later hired by Chrysler in Michigan where he remained at the CTC for several years developing Mexican suppliers for this corporation. Following, he was hired as Procurement Director for Mercedes Benz in Spain, where he remained for the next three years. His ample experience has now led him to assume his present role as president of Mexico´s largest auto parts association, the Industria Nacional de Autopartes, AC, (INA), in Mexico City, Mexico.
INA was originally incorporated as the National Association of Manufacturers of Auto parts back in 1961. Later, in 1981, the association was renamed Industria Nacional de Autopartes, AC.
Today, INA is an important association that groups together Tier 1, 2, and 3 suppliers, and its monthly statistical bulletin provides reliable information on the automotive markets of Canada, the US, and the most important markets in South America.
At Friday’s event, Oscar Albin explained that Mexico’s automotive industry is growing at a much faster pace than Mexico’s economy as a whole, and that his country will be increasing its production of automobiles from 3 million to 4 million in 2014.
It was interesting to learn that whereas in 2002, the US used to buy 85.1% of Mexican vehicles, today this percentage has gone down to 63.9%, and that Mexico’s auto parts industry in particular is expanding in search of new markets, such as South America.
Mr. Albin explained that INA’s strategy for this expansion includes regulating the importation of used vehicles (which today amounts to 400,000 a year), providing additional support and training to further develop local suppliers, advancing human resources – both in quality and quantity -- and promoting additional competitive incentives to attract additional foreign investment.
As Mr. Albin spoke about the numerous companies that have opened, or plan to open, new plants and offices in Mexico, someone in the audience asked: “Why Mexico?”
“Mexico is today the fifth largest producer of auto parts in the world, since we took over this position from South Korea in 2012.”, continued Mr. Albin. “Our country is also strategically located, has numerous trade agreements with over 40 other countries, and -- most importantly -- it maintains and upholds these agreements, reviewing, updating, and improving them as required”, explained Mr. Albin.
When asked to comment on the shortage of automotive engineers nowadays, he stressed the importance of gearing young students towards the automotive industry. “Today, most students are more interested in going towards marketing, journalism, or IT, so it is vital that we make an additional effort to encourage them to join the automotive industry”, said Albin.
The role of INA involves many activites. The International Congress of the Autoparts Industry (CIIAM), for example, which will take place on March 24 to26th, 2014 at Mexico’s lavish Centro Banamex, in Mexico City. CIIAM is intended to be the meeting point for members of the global autoparts industry, international government officials, and automotive executives to exchange points of view and ideas regarding the latest development of this global market. Sponsored by several international corporations such as BASF, KPMG, Federal Mogul, LTH, DHL, and BANCOMEXT (Mexico´s National Bank for Foreign Trade), among others, CIIAM aims to become a strategic international forum for communication and integration that will support and help further develop the automotive industry as a whole.
Attendees to Mr. Albin´s presentation last Friday included Octavio Martinez, Director of Sales at Kostal North America; Vicente Colmenares, Mexico’s Deputy Consul of Mexico in Detroit; Paco Beltrán, of Business Development at Peninsual Plastics; Javier Del Real, Quality Manager for Lear Corporation; Jorge Dominguez, Sales Manager for Brose; Raul Carvajal, Director of TechBa Michigan (Mexico´s Business Accelerator Program); Marie-Alsace Galindo, Director of Business Development for TechBa Michigan (and master of ceremonies for this event); and Camilo Suero, president of the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, among many others.
Oscar Albin concluded his presentation with INA’s Program Vision:
"To promote the growth and sustainable development of INA members through the promotion of the global market, and vehicle, auto parts, and components manufacturing".