Move over, Japan. Mexico is now the second top exporter of automobiles to the United States, right behind Canada. The second biggest economy in Latin America has surpassed Japan in car exports in the first three months of the year, as it exported 428,376 cars to the U.S., compared to Japan’s 408,405 in the same period.
Industry experts have been holding their breath for the time Mexico will overtake Japan in car exports. WardsAuto Group analyst Haig Stoddard showed little surprise that Mexico beat Japan as No. 2 exporter to the U.S. The country’s location, which is obviously very near the U.S., low employee wages and free trade pacts with other nations have ensured Mexico’s success in the automobile industry. It’s quite ironic that Japan has been instrumental in that triumph, as a wave of manufacturing facilities by Japanese carmakers Honda, Mazda and Nissan have opened in the country recently.
Mexican Automobile Industry Association (AMIA) president Eduardo Solis believes Mexico will continue to grow in car exports in the next five years. Many are anticipating that if the way cars are manufactured and sent out from the country is any indication, it will soon surpass Canada, the current No. 1 exporter to the U.S. It doesn’t hurt that the country has a very skilled labor force in terms of car manufacturing and that the government is very open to foreign investors. HIS Automotive analyst Guido Vildozo says with Japanese carmakers are “basically localizing production in the Americas, not only for the U.S. market but also for the region as a whole,” it’s leaving more room for Mexico to produce more and topple it from its previous role.
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