This is an exclusive preview of the 2015 edition of Mexico Automotive Review. If you want to get all the information, plus other relevant insights regarding the Mexican automotive industry, do not forget to get your tickets for Mexico Automotive Summit 2015.
Second Part of Exclusive Interview with Carlos Lozano De La Torre, Governor of the State of Aguascalientes
Missed the first part of the interview? Reread it here.
Q: With all these new companies arriving to the country, how much growth are you expecting for Aguascalientes?
A: What we are seeing is just the beginning and more opportunities will appear in the years to come. We have already reaped some benefits, perfectly shown by the 12.4% growth we had in 2014, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). However, the forecast that Banamex offers for this year places us as the fastest growing state in the country with a GDP increase of 7.8%. Our goal is not just to attract automotive OEMs, but to bring along all their major suppliers. Many Japanese companies were already established in Aguascalientes, but more of them are now arriving from all levels of the supply chain. Therefore, what I can predict is a continuous growth with large revenue for the state and job generation.
Q: What were your specific strategies in bringing Aguascalientes to its current positioning?
A: Nothing that is happening in Aguascalientes right now is circumstantial. The state needed to prove that it was ready for new challenges, and it was important to show that even when there were no new investment plans, we still wanted to maintain a healthy relationship with Japan. Before being elected, I visited Carlos Ghosn and many other directors to tell them that we wanted to work with them once again. At that time, there were rumors about a new Nissan project in America, and I immediately proposed Aguascalientes as a viable location. We developed a program based on the six strategic areas of economic and social progress, justice, legality, safety, efficient government, education, sustainability, and proper services, as well as quality of life. Currently, we are the state with the most advantageous financial position in the country, the second safest state, and state with the third lowest corruption perception according to the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) and the Center of Research and Economic Teaching (CIDE). We restructured Aguascalientes to become the primary state in environmental strategy and the leading state in urban development and housing. All these factors have a strong effect on companies’ results, and because of that we have mastered our ability to administrate success. There have been companies that want to establish in the region, but we have learnt to say no when we could not handle it. The most attractive place for the automotive industry is Mexico, but that does not mean that we can oversell our capacities. States that have stretched themselves too far will face problems in the future. To avoid this, we have a group of industrial players, including the most important international and local companies, working together to deal with the sector’s concerns. Finally, we have worked on a supplier development program and implemented various strategies to develop local companies and include them in the automotive supply chain. The financing program Fondo Progreso has developed new options for these companies,and we have connected 50 local companies with major automotive players.
Q: How is the government promoting environmental practices among the companies in the state?
A: Our education plans are now including these practices, and we have created an environmental culture in Aguascalientes. Aguascalientes is a leader in water treatment processes, waste disposal, recycling, and energy management, with programs that provide solar water heaters to senior citizens, for example. Alongside Mexico City, Aguascalientes is the only state with electric taxis, and has the largest amount of green areas per inhabitant. In terms of our electric vehicles project, we are still in the early stages and it is still an expensive technology. The cars are currently recharging from the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), but we are planning to generate solar energy. Aguascalientes has some of the largest solar exposure in the country, so we are turning this into an opportunity. CFE has already presented its proposal to us, and we want to launch the project in the next six months.
In the midst of the success the automotive industry is enjoying, it is our pleasure to invite you to Mexico Automotive Summit 2015 on September 24th. This event will provide an excellent platform where newcomers and established players can share their perspectives, defining the future of one of the main sectors in the Mexican economy. Whether you are part of the industry’s product or service supply chain, do not miss an excellent chance to be part of this grand event.