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

The news from Latin America continues to be chock-full of opportunities. Foreign investment sustains its upward trend in automotive, steel, telecom, aerospace, medical, IT, mining, and a surprise or two. For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on.
May 09, 2022

The news from Latin America continues to be chock-full of opportunities. Foreign investment sustains its upward trend with EV, auto parts, steel, and telecom in Mexico; aerospace and the automotive supply chain in Brazil; medical and IT in Costa Rica; mining in Chile; and, well, a surprise or two in Argentina. For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on.

Mexico

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

  • Nissan will invest $18 billion over the next five years to support its EV strategy in Mexico, which will be the first country in Latin America with e-power technology.

  • Martinrea announced an expansion of its operations in Querétaro, with a total investment of $155 million. This will mainly focus on aluminum automotive components.

  • The state of Nuevo Leon confirmed eight new investment projects valued at $300 million, which will create 10,000 new jobs. These projects are mainly in high-tech industries.

  • With an investment of $170 million, Metalsa began the construction of its plant in Apaseo el Grande, Guanajuato. The plant will supply the chassis for the Toyota Tacoma model in the Guanajuato and Baja California plants.

  • With an investment of $146 million, Bosch Mexico will expand its plant located in Querétaro. The plan includes installing new high-tech production lines and a warehouse.

  • Australian ZKW began the third phase of the expansion of its Guanajuato facility, with an investment of $102 million. The expansion will increase the number of headlight production lines from 18 to 36 in order to produce 3.5 million headlights per year for premium vehicles and trucks.

  • Ternium, the Argentine steel company, confirmed that it will invest $1 billion in the Pesqueria Industrial Center, Nuevo León, with a new cold rolling mill, a hot dip galvanizing line, a pickling line by coil, and new finishing lines.

  • Italian telecommunications and energy cable company Prysmian plans to complete the physical work of expanding its plant in Durango by mid-2022 and equipment installation by the end of the year.

  • As a result of the conversion of the GM CAMI plant to BrightDrop BEV production in Ontario, Canada, the GM plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, will have the ability to increase production of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain midsize CUVs.

  • In 2021, foreign direct investment in Mexico grew by 8.7%, attracting almost $32 billion.

  • Samkwang will build a second operations plant in Reynosa with an investment of about $15 million.

  • General Motors is upgrading its Ramos Arizpe facility to initiate EV manufacturing by 2023.

  • ABC Technologies will expand its Ramos Arizpe plant with an investment of $40 million. The expansion will create 170 new direct jobs in plastic injection for air induction systems in the automotive sector in Coahuila.

  • The Tunisian company COFAT, a producer of electrical harnesses for the automotive industry, announced an expansion in Durango for $5 million. This is the fifth investment of the group in the state, with accumulated investments of $103 million from its four previous expansions.

  • Mexico has surpassed Germany as the fourth-largest producer of auto parts worldwide.

Brazil

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

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree to cut taxes on industrial products (IPI) by 35%, which will become effective May 1, a deeper tax cut than the 25% reduction that is in force now, an effort he says will boost economic activity as the country emerges from the pandemic.

  • Electric aviation company magniX, based in Everett, Washington, is partnering with Brazilian aeronautical company Desenvolvimento Aeronáutico (DESAER) to develop the ATL-100H, a hybrid electric iteration of the ATL-100 regional aircraft. DESAER’s manufacturing site, a 277,000-square-meter area at Araxá (AAX) airport, is scheduled for a Q1 2022 opening, with investments worth $250 million.

  • Japanese Nissan continues investing heavily in Brazil. Upon the completion of its first cycle of investments of around $200 million to produce the Kicks SUV, Nissan’s facilities in Resende, Rio de Janeiro, will receive additional investments worth $250 million until 2025 to produce a new platform. Nissan produced 48,000 units in 2021 and expects to produce 86,000 units in 2022 to supply South American demand, especially in Argentina, where consumption reached 63% of all Nissan Brazil exports.

  • Brazilian auto part producer Tupy is set to buy Traton-owned motor maker MWM in a deal with an enterprise value of around $185 million. The company manufactures engines for Brazilian, European, and North American trucks, buses, and machine makers and also converts motors to allow them to run on natural gas, biodiesel, biogas, and biomethane.

  • Brazilian auto part producer Hubner announced an expansion in Brazil by setting up a new facility in Linhares, Espirito Santo. Investments are worth $37 million, and the company’s plans are to produce parts for the commercial vehicles segment.

  • Brazilian Dexco announced investments of $120 million to build a new manufacturing facility in Botucatu, Sao Paulo. The site will be Dexco’s first fully updated facility running the latest Industry 4.0 technologies. All production lines will be fully automated, while machine data collection, diagnostics, and reports will be fully operated by mobile devices. Dexco operates in ceramics, paneling, and flooring and owns renowned brands like Deca, Portinari, Hydra, Duratex, Ceusa, and Durafloor, largely consumed by all Latin American markets.

  • Brazilian auto parts manufacturer Ibero is investing $10 million in its newest Itaquaquecetuba, Sao Paulo, facilities to produce axles and components to the commercial vehicle sector.

  • Brazilian Novo Brasil Group (NBR) announced the laying of the cornerstone of its car factory. According to the company, the production line will be built in the city of Araripina, in the Pernambuco hinterland, on an area of 29 hectares. Work is expected to begin in the first half of the year, with an initial investment of $50 million. According to the NBR, the idea is to use modular platforms to create their cars. The expectation for its first model is to produce a compact car for up to five people, which can be transformed into a fully open buggy. According to the company, the structure would be modular with a chassis made of carbon fiber or fiberglass.

  • The Brazilian motorcycle industry recorded 327,139 units produced in the first quarter of 2022, 37.8% growth YOY. Abraciclo, the Brazilian Motorcycle Builders Association, forecasts a total output of around 1,290,000 in 2022, a 7.9% growth YOY.

Costa Rica

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

  • Okay Industries, a medical device company, strengthened its operations by hiring over 30 new personnel to implement new technologies in their processes.

  • Intel is expecting to invest $700 million in the next three years in Costa Rica for manufacturing and R&D.

Columbia

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

  • Kimberly-Clark has three plants in Colombia. They invested over $80 million in 2021 and expect to invest $30 million in 2022 to increase production capacity.

Chile

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

  • Foreign direct investment in Chile reached $17 billion in 2021. This amount is 62% higher than the previous five-year average.

  • Chile launched a $500 million concession to build a new highway as part of its National Infrastructure for Mobility Plan.

  • Canadian Lundind Mining plans to invest $370 million to develop the Candelaria mining complex.

Argentina

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

  • Local companies FDC Competición and Emerx, together with Canadian company Daymak Inc., announced a project to manufacture the first high-end electric car in Argentina, the Spiritus, exclusively for export.

  • IVECO announced an investment of $200 million for the development of new products for the Tector GNC line, expansion and renovation of its network services, and improvement of production processes.

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Author
Carlos Mortera
International Director, Latin America
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