Despite the uncertainty stemming from the NAFTA renegotiation, 2017 was a historic year for trade in the region. Mexico reached a US$65.7 billion trade surplus with the US between January and December that represents a 9.6 percent growth compared to the same period in 2016. As the sixth and penultimate NAFTA negotiation round approaches, political uncertainty continues. But foreign automotive investors continue to invest and bring plants to the country.

As the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 began on Jan. 9, several key international companies showed the world their newest projects. New electric vehicles and autonomous driving devices are expected to radically change the automotive industry in the coming years.

National

FCA to invest US$1 billion in Michigan to shift production of the RAM Heavy Duty truck back to the US from Mexico. The FCA plant in Saltillo will be repurposed toward future commercial vehicles for global distribution.

Mexico reached a record commercial surplus with the US during the first 11 months of 2017 according to the US Census Bureau.

UBS México reports that if NAFTA ceased to exist car prices would rise due to trade tariffs.

Automakers go ahead with more assembly plants in the Bajio region despite tariff threats from Trump’s administration.

Mexico leads global exports of automotive airbags (in terms of value). The US, Germany, Canada, Poland and China are other outstanding airbag exporters.

Light-vehicle exports to the US grew 9.4 percent in 2017. Mexico overtook Japan, South Korea and Germany as the main automotive exporter to the US.

Airbag by Bee Forks. CC BY-NC 2.0

Mexico reaches automotive record in 2017 with 3.8 million units produced and 3.1 million units exported.

2018 will be flat in terms of new car sales. AMDA expects a mere 1 percent growth.

Queretaro is the top recipient of German investments. The state received US$178.3 million during 3Q17.

Heavy vehicles sales fell 6.8 percent during 2017 with only 41,765 vehicles sold by the end of the year.

Ford’s sales and production fell in 2017. The automaker produced 315,455 vehicles and exported 307,378.

Due to expansions, Midori, Dräxlmaier, Valero and Zoppas will create 4,200 new jobs in Queretaro.

Uber competitor Didi Chuxing hires local staff ahead of launching its app in Mexico.

Mexico is open to explore changes to rules of origin in NAFTA.

International

Tired by Jason Goulding. CC BY 2.0.

Hyundai creates the first airbag for panoramic roofs.

Michelin and Sumitomo to create NTW, a 50-50 JV that will become the second largest tire distributor in North America.

Byton presents new electric SUV in CES 2018. This new EV is expected to compete with Tesla.

Toyota presents self-driving e-Palette concept vehicle for ride hailing and deliveries. There will be three versions to be commercialized in the beginning of the next decade.

GM executive promised investors that the automaker will come up with a formula to build profitable EVs.

Photo by stanvpetersen. CC0

 

Toyota and Mazda will build a US$1.6 million plant in Alabama that will produce 300,000 vehicles a year and employ 4,000 people.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to invest US$1 billion in innovation. The Alliance will invest US$200 million in vehicle electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity and AI startups.

Canada is increasingly convinced that the Trump administration will pull the US out of NAFTA.

Nissan and NASA will continue collaborating in the development and testing of autonomous mobility technology.

 

Don’t forget to follow us on twitter at @mexautomotive and @mexautomotriz for the latest industry news.

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