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International News From the Field: Mexico, Brazil, and Latin America

The news from Latin America still turns heads. Mexico’s auto parts investments continue to explode, while plans are confirmed for local builds of electric trucks and buses. Speaking of trucks, Brazil’s truck sales broke records in 2021 ...
Feb 21, 2022

The news from Latin America still turns heads. Mexico’s auto parts investments continue to explode, while plans are confirmed for local builds of electric trucks and buses. Speaking of trucks, Brazil’s truck sales broke records in 2021, with expectations for an even better 2022. Toyota, Iveco, and Volvo are all investing accordingly. The positive news continues with automotive developments in Argentina, medical devices in Costa Rica, and approved mining projects in Chile. For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on.

Mexico

For more information, contact Carlos Mortera (cmortera@AMTonline.org).

  • Link EV, the Chinese electric truck and bus manufacturer, will invest $265 million in a new assembly plant at Ciudad Modelo, Puebla.

  • BCS Automotive, the global supplier of vehicle interior components, announced an investment of $60 million in Querétaro to supply steering control modules and other electronic components to Tesla, General Motors, and other U.S. automakers.

  • Japanese F-Tech’s subsidiary in Mexico, F&P MFG, will increase production capacity at its plant in Irapuato in 2022 to handle new orders for EV chassis parts.

  • Bosch will expand their steering wheel facility in Querétaro with an investment of $146 million, adding 400 new jobs.

  • In 2021, auto parts output in Mexico increased 19.6% YOY with a total of $93.7 billion. For 2022, it is expected to grow an additional 5.2%, reaching $98.6 billion.

  • Hisun Motors, the Chinese manufacturer of all-terrain vehicles (ATV), announced an investment of $152 million in Coahuila to build ATVs. 

  • Draxton, the Spanish producer of auto parts, is investing $30 million to expand production capacity of calipers and brackets for light automotive in their San Luis Potosi plant. 

Argentina

For more information, contact Carlos Mortera (cmortera@AMTonline.org). 

  • The Association of Automotive Factories (ADEFA) stated that the automotive industry should “continue on its growth train” and expects 30% growth in 2022.

  • China’s Chery Automobile Co. Ltd. will build an EV factory in Argentina, according to the Argentine ambassador to China, Sabino Vaca Narvaja.

  • Nissan announced that it will start selling the Frontier pickup, produced in its Cordoba plant, to the Chilean and Colombian markets in 2022. Local production of this model began a few years ago and has proved very successful domestically and in exports to Brazil. Ramping up production for these two new markets will require new capital investments.

Chile

For more information, contact Carlos Mortera (cmortera@AMTonline.org). 

  • Fifty-seven mining projects, totaling $6.3 billion, were environmentally approved last year. They are located mostly in the Antofagasta region and supported by interregional initiatives.

Costa Rica

For more information, contact Carlos Mortera (cmortera@AMTonline.org). 

  • Biomerics LLC, a leading U.S. medical device contract manufacturer, inaugurated its second plant in Costa Rica. With a $9.5 million investment, the new plant will be dedicated to solutions for extrusion, injection molding, micromachining metals processing, and final assembly processes in clean rooms. The company already employs 400 people in its current facilities, and with this new plant, Biomerics will hire about 250 new employees in 2022 and expects to reach 1000 employees by 2024.

Brazil

For more information, contact Achilles Arbex (aarbex@AMTonline.org).

  • A new investment cycle has been announced by Iveco Trucks for its manufacturing site in Brazil. The company will invest approximately $200 million over the next three years in new products to meet Euro VI requirements while $30 million will be invested in existing and new manufacturing processes. Iveco recorded 70% growth YOY in 2021; this comes after being declared the fastest growing truck OEM in 2020, recording 30% growth in comparison to 2019.

  • Toyota recorded 48% growth YOY in 2021 and expects an additional 20% growth in 2022. The company produced 172,000 units in 2021 and is working on plans to expand production capacity to accommodate growing domestic demand.

  • Liebherr is launching its remanufacturing program in Brazil. With a large installed base, the company is targeting the remanufacturing of three to four CNC machines a year in its Guarantigueta facility.

  • Volvo announced $300 million of investments in Brazil over the next three years. The company recorded a record 21,800 truck sales in 2021, up almost 46% from 2020. The country remains Volvo’s second largest truck market in the world.

  • The agriculture equipment segment continues to do well. Companies produced over 58,000 units in 2021, and exports grew 38%. Expectations are that 2022 will be even stronger, given the growing demand for products.

  • Local truck manufacturers recorded 7.5% growth in production in January 2022, producing 9,500 units in just one month. It is worth noting that the OEM’s production was limited due to pandemic issues and a shortage of components, making the growth even more impressive.

  • Brazilian power equipment company WEG announced the construction of a new facility to build large electric motors in Santo Tirso, Portugal, with an investment of $27 million.

  • ArcelorMittal will invest $400 million in its Barra Mansa facilities to update manufacturing technologies and expand production. The main driver for the investment is the growing domestic consumption of steel and eventual exports.

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Author
Carlos Mortera
International Director, Latin America
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