Toyota may soon become the next major automaker to open an assembly plant in Mexico, following other global manufacturers including BMW, Kia and Mercedes-Benz, all of whom announced plans to set up operations “South of the border” in recent months.
Toyota, which already operates an extensive manufacturing network in the U.S. and Canada, would not be a stranger to Mexico. It already operates a so-called “kit car” plant in Baja, California an hour south of Tijuana, that assembles about 50,000 small pickup trucks annually. But unlike other global manufacturers, Toyota has not built a full-scale assembly plant in Mexico, which has seen automotive-oriented investments boom in recent years.
Mexico is already the world’s sixth-largest auto producing nation, with manufacturers including Detroit’s Big Three, Volkswagen and Nissan, firmly entrenched. Audi is in the midst of readying a plant near Puebla that will become the first to build luxury cars. Honda joined the procession in February, and, just since June, Kia Motor Corp. BMW AG and Daimler AG have announced plans for Mexican operations.