Truck and other heavy vehicle manufacturing, so often the Cinderella of the automotive industry, has been given a timely boost by Navistar Mexico, which has committed long-term to the country after recording a 40 per cent leap in production.
Eugenio Paci, Senior Corporation Government Relations Manager of Navistar Mexico told MEXICONOW that Mexico continued to be a strategic country for both the company’s operations and sourcing plans. He said: “The combination of those two factors provides the opportunity to employ thousands of Mexican people directly at our multiple locations and dealers and indirectly with our Mexican supplier base that we continue to develop.”
“The greatest benefit for our company in executing our Sourcing Plan in Mexico is to buy from 100 per cent Mexican-owned companies for all our USA, Canada and Mexico plants. However, that represents a challenge as those companies are mostly small to medium sized (SMEs) with very limited experience of exporting to the USA and Canada. “The challenges and weaknesses where we need the support of the Mexican Government are: Financial support to SMEs to fund production tooling, provide export training for SMEs.” We need more “full service” suppliers in Mexico with the ability to design, engineer and produce vehicle systems.
On Innovation and Development, Mr. Paci said one of Navistar Mexico’s key strategies was the constant innovation in its products, sources and manufacturing protocols and he emphasized that the company had been part of the Consultative Forum and the Science and Technological Development in the Government’s Fiscal Incentive Program since 2006. Training was of vital importance to Navistar Mexico, too, he said, and added: “Our training center at San Martin Obispo is the first of its kind in Latin America and the first time a HD OEM has seriously invested in training.” Production highlights of 2014 included the 40 per cent rise in production which meant that an additional 8,000 trucks would be exported to the USA and Canada, although only 2 per cent to 3 per cent would be sold in Mexico. He said: “That will raise our daily production on only one of our assembly lines from 95 to 185 trucks per day.” Mr. Paci said Navistar Mexico had the biggest, most modern and efficient assembly plant at Escobedo, Nuevo Leon, and that plant had helped the company become leaders in the USA, Canada and Mexico markets in assembling, selling and shipping light, medium and heavy duty trucks and buses. Mr. Paci added: “It’s an investment we have never regretted.”