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

Busy times in the two largest Latin American markets: Brazil's automotive, agricultural, and aerospace sectors see a lot of activity, while Mexico is a leading destination for foreign direct investment. For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on.
May 10, 2023

Brazil

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

  • Bracell will invest $4 billion to secure its position as the world’s largest producer of dissolving pulp. Most of the resources are dedicated to the “flex” mill in Sao Paulo, capable of producing 1.5 million tons of dissolving pulp per year, which is used to make viscose. It can also produce up to 3 million tons of eucalyptus kraft pulp annually.

  • Suspensys, Empresas Randon’s axle and suspension system manufacturer, is strengthening its position as an electromobility supplier, inaugurating a segment-dedicated production unit. According to the company, the factory received a $15 million investment and is the first facility in Latin America for electrified products for the transport segment. Installed at the company’s headquarters in Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Suspensys E-Mobility will assemble and produce batteries and provide structure to manufacture the e-Sys, an axle with an auxiliary electric drive system for improved uphill climbs.

  • Petrobras, a globally renowned oil and gas company, announced its plans to invest $6 billion over the next five years in exploration activities on Brazil's northern and Colombian coast. It will do so with a focus on economic and environmental sustainability.

  • Saab and Embraer announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to deepen the collaboration between the companies in several areas, mainly related to business development and engineering opportunities. The companies will collaborate to position the C-390 Millennium aircraft as the preferred solution to meet the Swedish Air Force tactical air transport requirements. They will also evaluate the integration of Saab equipment and systems into the C-390 Millennium multi-mission aircraft.

  • The new BMW X1 is now produced in Brazil at the Araquari plant north of Santa Catarina, where the German automaker also produces the current generation of the 3 Series. For its local production, BMW had to invest $100 million, although the UKL2 platform was updated from the previous base of the X1, which competes with the 320i in brand sales. In Araquari, BMW has invested $400 million since 2014, making it the only luxury carmaker that had serial production from the start but has produced cars like the MINI Countryman, BMW X3, and the BMW X4. Situated on 1.5 million square meters, of which 112,893 square meters are developed, the BMW plant is very modern and has a complete production process.

  • ArcelorMittal will form a joint venture partnership with Casa dos Ventos, one of Brazil’s largest developers and producers of renewable energy projects, to develop a 554 MW wind power project. The $800 million project aims to secure and decarbonize a considerable proportion of ArcelorMittal’s future electricity needs. It is estimated to provide 38% of ArcelorMittal’s total electricity needs in Brazil in 2030.

  • Japanese carmaker Toyota has announced a $340 million investment to expand production at its Sorocaba plant in Sao Paulo. Notably, the investment will be used to manufacture a new hybrid flex compact vehicle to be sold in 22 Latin American countries. This hybrid flex car model will have a combustion engine that runs on gasoline and ethanol and a self-charging electric engine.

  • German company Horsch has built and opened a new plant in Curitiba, Brazil. It covers 35,000 square meters and is located on 16 hectares. Among others, the assembly line has been designed for single grain seed drills and tillage machines, and crop care technology is produced on-site. Due to the extension, the plant can also handle requests from Latin America, European countries as needed, and parts of Africa. Investments are worth $80 million.

  • AGCO celebrated its 30th anniversary in Brazil and the production of 300,000 engines at the Mogi das Cruzes factory. AGCO is investing heavily in technology and bringing the best in machinery and equipment there. The group announced investments worth $200 million during 2023 Agrishow to expand its production capacity by 2024.

Mexico

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

  • Fives Group will invest in a new, larger facility in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, to improve its capacity and to meet the demand of the Mexican market. It will also address nearshoring in North America, mainly for the markets of its Fives Smart Automation Solutions division. These markets include the automotive and strategic logistics sectors, two critical sectors due to their size and the cutting-edge technologies they use. The company estimates it will invest $10 million in this new project.

  • Lear inaugurated the Torreon 2 plant in Matamoros, Coahuila, a $34 million investment to manufacture harnesses for electric vehicles.                    

  • Bullsafe, a leading company in the armoring and safe industry, is dedicated to finding solutions with applied technology to improve the security of its customers; in Queretaro, they will manufacture safe boxes for residences and businesses, as well as professional containers for the protection of weapons. Investments are worth $10 million.

  • Safran is currently working on expanding its four plants in Queretaro as well as building a new one in Mexico, which will be a bench test. 

  • Park Ohio, the auto parts manufacturer of rubber and plastics components, inaugurated its fourth plant in Coahuila, Mexico, with a total investment of $12 million.

  • TitanX, a manufacturer of cooling systems for motor vehicles, announced the expansion of a plant located in Coahuila, Mexico, with an investment of $11 million.

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Author
Achilles Arbex
Director, Global Services
Recent international News
Brazil revs up with massive automotive investments while Mexico sees lots of new developments across all sectors. The two great engines of Latin America are making the soft landing happen. For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on.
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Interested in selling advanced manufacturing technology internationally but not sure about servicing those machines? AMT provides experienced, in-country technicians to members for installations, maintenance, and repairs at a fraction of the cost and time.
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