Although the US, Japan, Canada and Korea represent 50 percent of the foreign direct investment in the Mexican industry, automotive clusters help catalyze the remaining economic inflow, panelists discussing “Growth of Clusters and Investment Attraction” said during Mexico Automotive Summit 2018 on Wednesday in Mexico City. Some of these clusters have achieved major success due to their proximity to the US border, but states such as Aguascalientes, Edomex, Puebla, Tlaxcala and Jalisco also stand as significant players, the panelists agreed.
“We provide information to the government about where are the missing links in the value chain, so efforts can be focused on looking for providers, identify commodities that the capabilities of another cluster can cover and if that is not possible, seek opportunities abroad,” said Jaime González, Director of the Automotive Cluster of the Central Region Puebla Tlaxcala.
In addition to González, the panel at the Hotel Sheraton María Isabel included Manuel Nieblas, Partner and Manufacturing Industry Leader at Deloitte Mexico; Manuel Montoya, Director of the Automotive Cluster of Nuevo Leon; Alexandro Burgueño, Director General of the Jalisco Automotive Cluster; and Héctor Soto, Managing Director of the Automotive Cluster of San Luis Potosi.
González emphasized the role these organizations play in consolidating the automotive industry through mutual cooperation. “State governments have the responsibility of boosting internal investment but the cluster acts as the entity that enables industry, government and universities. These elements have to interact systematically as they thrive for the same objective,” he said. In recent years, many clusters have started to collaborate on different projects and schemes. “We designed an initiative that started five years ago in Guanajuato, and every cluster joined it. We developed a survey to identify relevant information about human capital difficulties in every state with the objective of addressing this situation strategically,” said Burgueño. Panelists also mentioned the importance of identifying through shared information the main capabilities and strengths of every state. To incentivize local content, their priority is to find value chain solutions between clusters. Cluster leaders also hold regular meetings to share success stories, best practices and lessons learned.
Regarding the recently announced bilateral US-Mexico trade deal, the panelists concluded that the increase of regional content represents a challenge for Mexico as it will put pressure on manufacturing segments. “The clusters, AMIA and INA need to organize and communicate very clear ground rules. Among the three countries (in NAFTA), Mexico is the most competitive and we should see this as an opportunity to boost the industry.” González said. Another important area is the development of an R&D industry in Mexico, panelists agreed.
The real challenge, said Soto, is to establish mutual cooperation between companies. “Part of our job is to generate confidence between competitors, as they have to understand that sharing information is crucial for them as well. We have the knowledge and by establishing a connection between our partners, the industry is enriched and projects are finished faster,” Soto added.
Mexico Automotive Summit 2018, organized by Mexico Business Events, is also the launch event for the fifth edition of Mexico Automotive Review, a publication by Mexico Business Publishing.