Mexico is now poised to overtake Japan and Canada as the largest exporter of cars to the US thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which has brought a rash of new factories being built there, including the $800 million Honda facility due to open today in Celeya, Guanajuato. The plant is expected to produce approximately 200,000 Fit hatchbacks annually.
Thanks to this, as well as Mazda’s plan to begin production of its Mazda3 compact car at a Mexican factory this year, and a new $1.3 billion plant to currently under construction to assemble Audis near Puebla, this will bring the number of cars being shipped to the United States this year to an estimated 1.7 million units by the end of this year (200,000 more than Japan). VW, which as already celebrated its 50th anniversary building cars in Mexico, already builds Beetle, Jetta and Golf models south-of-the border for the United States marketplace. Once the new factories go into full production, the number of exports will end up surpassing Canada in 2015. In the meantime, Mercedes-Benz is currently looking into plans to join the fray with their own plant as well.
“It’s a safe bet that Mexico is now one of the major global players in car manufacturing,” stated Eduardo Solis, president of the country’s Automotive Industry Association.