This is an exclusive article from the 2018 edition of Mexico Automotive Review. If you want to get all the information, plus other relevant insights regarding the Mexican automotive industry, get your copy of Mexico Automotive Review 2017 or check out the digital version of the publication.

Article based on an exclusive interview with Rubén Reséndiz, General Manager of the Jalisco Foreign Trade Promotion Institute (JALTRADE).

Q: What is Jalisco’s role in the Mexican automotive industry and how much does the state represent in terms of exports?

A: Between January and August 2017, total exports from Jalisco accounted for US$33.7 billion. The state has a significant export offering, including everything from agrobusiness and industrial manufacturing to ideas, software and innovation. The electronics industry leads the state’s exports, with automotive in second and food products placing third. This offer grows as we develop export consortiums and support export groups through training, certifications and the establishment of direct contacts with buyers abroad.

During the same period in 2017, US$5.6 billion in exports came from the automotive industry. This represents a 6 percent decrease compared to the total exports registered between January and August 2016. Honda is the only OEM plant in the state but there is an interesting supplier base of Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies. The state government places value on the automotive industry and is making an effort to attract foreign companies from Japan and Germany. To this end, an automotive-oriented industrial park in Lagos de Moreno was established, strategically located near Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato and Queretaro. The continued growth of the electronics industry and its relationship with the automotive sector has also helped attract more projects to the state.

Q: What is the state government’s role in developing the local industry?

A: JALTRADE is working to develop a strong supplier base for the electronics and automotive industries. This effort includes certifying and training SMEs and finding resources for them to modernize their plants. Our other goal was to create the Jalisco Automotive Cluster. This cluster now has over 30 member companies and has developed links with CLAUGTO, Clautedomex and other automotive clusters in Aguascalientes, Nuevo Leon and Queretaro. AMIA and INA support this collaboration between clusters and good practices are being shared among the clusters to the benefit of the newest ones.

JALTRADE has been working with companies in the sector and receiving the support and expertise of the Nuevo Leon Automotive Cluster. We applied the methodology that the cluster established and have advanced swiftly thanks to its advice. Universities, companies and the government are also part of this initiative to boost the local industry.

While we have been actively participating in its first stages, we think the development of the new Jalisco cluster should stay in the hands of the private sector so that it moves on its own when administrations change. There is no reason for the government to interfere in these associations. The Jalisco Automotive Cluster is already growing on its own and procures its own resources, which means it no longer depends on the government. The state’s Secretary of Economic Development and the Secretary of Innovation, Science and Technology will remain part of the cluster but all the other members are now academic institutions and private companies.

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity for the state to develop a strong local supply chain?

A: The local electronics industry has always imported most of its materials and components, which also happens in the automotive industry. However, many of the components imported from Asia could be produced in Mexico. Clusters and private companies are focusing on addressing these needs. Activities such as stamping, mold fabrication and maintenance, plastic injection, lamination and die-cutting are a few examples of what the industry and the local supply chain need. Since companies without certifications have no opportunity to enter the automotive industry, JALTRADE has focused on gathering resources to help SMEs receive training and gain certifications in these business areas.

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

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