Over the past two years, Mexico has recorded an automotive production of around three million light cars per year.
In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, the sector reached a production of 3,040,178 units, while last year the number fell to 2,979,276 units.
What has changed from one year to the next is the relocation of products and processes of the manufacturing companies of auto parts and inputs for the automotive industry, a rate that has multiplied by four.
In 2020, the so-called nearshoring of auto parts companies occupied 12% of the statistics. By 2021, auto parts companies accounted for 50% of nearshoring nationwide.
"Auto parts companies are the ones that have most sought relocation due to the conditions and facilities of the new USMCA, which requires greater regional content, but also offers multiple benefits, such as a more agile export and a very compact supply chain ," explains Carlos González, CEO of Hultek, a Mexican company that supplies customized rubber parts to the automotive industry.
González expects the rubber industry to also grow in the country, due to the arrival of new automotive assemblers and the new needs of this sector.
"Rubber is indispensable for the automotive industry, due to its characteristics as a lightweight, resistant, insulating and sealant material, so it will be an important part of the goods required not only by conventional cars, but also electric and hybrid," says the manager.
Currently, Mexico has production plants of some of the main rubber companies in the world, but these are mainly tires: Continental AG, Michelin North America, Goodyear and Bridgestone, to name a few.
"Only 10% of the nearly one thousand companies dedicated to rubber in the country are large companies, and of this small percentage the vast majority is dedicated to the manufacture of tires," explains the director of Hultek, a firm with more than 40 years in the rubber sector.
For González, it will be essential to increase the supply focused on other parts of rubber manufacturing, such as packaging, grommets, profiles, caps and parts that are made to measure for the automotive industry.
"It is a sector that offers great opportunities, both for raw materials – currently, companies like Hultek import up to 70% of all their raw materials – and for other competitors that have the capacity to supply these large projects," says González.
Hultek, for example, has increased the production of its parts by 20% over the past year, driven mainly by orders from the automotive sector.
According to data from the Mexican Association of the Automotive Industry, the production of cars in the country could increase 25% in the next three years, to reach a production of 4 million cars in 2025, "a factor that implies a growth of the automotive manufacturing chain in the country," González added.