Sep 102011

In previous posts in this mini-series, we have seen where Mexico’s vehicle assembly plants are located and looked at some of the reasons for Mexico’s success in this industrial sector. In this post, we consider the importance of the autoparts industry.

Each year, Mexico makes about 2 million vehicles, of which about 1.5 million are for export. Vehicle manufacturing is heavily dependent on parts manufacturers and suppliers. Vehicle assembly plants often require parts to be delivered in a “just in time” basis, to reduce the costs associated with warehousing and inventory. Mexico’s autoparts industry has grown rapidly in the last decade, and now accounts for about 7% of all the GDP derived from manufacturing activities, and for more than 8% of all manufactured exports.

The autoparts sector comprises about 1100 companies, one-third of which are Mexican-owned or controlled. Autoparts manufacturers employ more than 400,000 workers nationwide and exports of autoparts to the USA are worth more than $25 billion a year.

Car factories breed tire factories. Bridgestone, the Japanese tire-maker, and Pirelli, its Italian counterpart, are both investing in Mexico this year, expanding their production facilities and supply of tires to the North American market. Bridgestone is spending $100 million to upgrade its plants in Cuernavaca (Morelos) and Monterrey (Nuevo León), allowing production to rise to 10 million tires a year. Bridgestone also operates a retreading facility for truck tires in León, Guanajuato. Meanwhile, Pirelli is building a 210-million-dollar factory in Silao (Guanajuato) which will turn out 3 million high performance tires each year.

Good-Year campaign to recycle tires

Goodyear recycles tires

Related links:

For a useful map of major scrap tire piles either side of the border and a scary count of scrap tires, see Border 2012: U.S.–Mexico Border Scrap Tire Inventory, Summary Report (May 2007) (pdf file)

For some other (fun and extraordinary) ideas as to how old tires can be re-used, see Tires as Art.

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