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“We Will Adapt,” Says Nissan CEO, as Trump Attacks Rival Toyota for Mexican Imports

Automakers waiting to see what is beyond the incoming president’s tweets.

by on Jan.06, 2017

"We are pragmatic," said Nissan's Ghosn.

Nissan is taking a “pragmatic” approach to dealing with a new president who may move to block automotive imports from Mexico, CEO Carlos Ghosn told during a discussion at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Ghosn’s comments came shortly after President-elect Donald Trump attacked Toyota in the latest in a series of tweets criticizing automakers who import vehicles into the U.S. from Mexico. That move sent the stock of the largest of the Japanese automakers tumbling. Nissan is the best-selling automaker in Mexico and has major assembly operations there supplying the U.S. and numerous other markets.

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“We are pragmatic,” said Ghosn, who also serves as CEO of Nissan’s French alliance partner Renault. “We will adapt.”


Ford Set to Double Mexican Production

New plant could handle planned “Prius-fighter.”

by on Feb.08, 2016

Ford CEO Mark Fields is trying to find ways to reduce production costs of small cars and upcoming battery-electric models.

Ford Motor Co. will more than double production in Mexico, according to several reports, by both adding a new plant and increasing production in the Latin American nation.

The maker reportedly expects to put the focus on hybrids and smaller cars that are hard to economically justify building in the U.S. market. That includes the Ford Focus and C-Max models currently being produced at a suburban Detroit plant. But could also include a planned “Prius-fighter” meant to take on the popular Toyota hybrid.

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Ford had earlier indicated plans to shift production of the Focus and C-Max but declined to comment on the latest reports about Mexico.


US Auto Imports Running at Record Level

New plants in Mexico expected to widen the gap.

by on Aug.05, 2015

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito, (center right) during groundbreaking ceremonies for the maker's plant in Mexico. Honda recently began building the Fit there.

Despite the rapid expansion of “transplant” assembly lines operated by a wide range of foreign-owned manufacturers, U.S. auto imports hit an all-time record during the first half of 2015, with no sign of slowing down.

If anything, the rapid expansion of Mexico’s production base could spell even bigger automotive trade deficits in the years ahead, experts warn. Autos and automotive parts accounted for about a third of the overall U.S. trade deficit in June, meanwhile.

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Automotive imports rose by $10.8 billion, to $171.5 billion during the first half of 2015, according to a newly issued report from the U.S. Census Bureau. During the same period, auto exports dipped by $3 billion, to just $74.8 billon. (more…)

Nissan Likely to Expand Production in U.S.

But Mexico quickly becoming maker’s major export hub, says Ghosn.

by on Nov.13, 2013

Nissan CEO Ghosn dedicates the maker's new $2 billion plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Despite spending billions to open new plants in both Brazil and Mexico, Nissan Motor Co. will continue investing in its U.S. automotive manufacturing operations, stressed the maker’s CEO.

But where plants in Tennessee and Mississippi will largely focus on local demand in the United States, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said Mexico is rapidly becoming not only its primary export hub in the Americas but likely will soon become a largest export base than Nissan plants back in Japan.

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“If you ask me if you will see future expansion in the United States for the U.S. market, the answer is yes,” said Ghosn during a media roundtable in Aguascalientes, Mexico, where he attended the formal dedication of Nissan’s new, $2 billion assembly complex.


Nissan Fires Up New Mexican Plant

$2 billion project could soon have a partner in Mercedes.

by on Nov.12, 2013

Nissan flipped the switch on at its Aguascalientes Plant in Mexico. The Sentra is one of many products it will export from the facility.

Nissan has officially switched on its sprawling new assembly plant in the Mexican industrial center of Aguascalientes, a facility that will become a major part of the maker’s planned growth both in Mexico and the rest of the booming Americas.

The new plant is the result of a $2 billion investment by Nissan that it calls the most advanced assembly operation it now operates anywhere in the world. But the project is actually just partially complete. Even as the first saleable car rolls off the line at Aguascaliente today, Nissan appears to have big plans for the future. And that could include the addition of a partner at the complex.

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Though a reported announcement failed to materialize during the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, insiders confirm that Nissan is working up final details that would have its alliance partner Mercedes-Benz assemble some of its own luxury vehicles on the Aguascaliente campus – a move that would require a significant expansion of the still-new factory. (more…)

Automakers Migrating South of the Border

Mexico serving as major global production and export base.

by on Oct.21, 2013

Workers in Puebla gathered to celebrate the launch of production of the latest VW Beetle, one of many new models going South of the Border.

Despite the ongoing recovery of the U.S. market, manufacturers have been extremely reluctant to boost capacity, adding third shifts where absolutely necessary and avoiding, if at all possible, the need to invest in new assembly plants.

It’s an entirely different matter South of the Border.  In the months to come, a wide range of automotive manufacturers, including Nissan, Audi and Honda, plan to launch production at all-new plants designed to not only feed rising demand in Mexico itself but which will serve as a major export base for markets around the world.

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The boom in Mexican production is meant to take advantage not only of an abundant supply of relatively low cost labor, but also the fact that Mexico has negotiated more free trade agreements than almost any other country in the world.


Nissan Outlines Big Boost in Production in the Americas

Increased exports critical part of plan.

by on Aug.26, 2013

Nissan recently expanded capacity at its Canton, Miss. plant to handle the latest-generation Altima sedan.

With expanded operations in the U.S., and new plants in both Brazil and Mexico on tap, Nissan is projecting a big jump in production capacity in the Americas.

While the maker is targeting significant sales growth in North, South and Central America, increased exports are a major factor in the maker’s production push – which will see it boost capacity to more than 2 million in the Americas by the end of 2014, it says.

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The second-largest Japanese automaker is in the midst of a $5 billion investment program that includes its two assembly plants in the U.S., as well as new operations in Latin America. In all, it expects this “response to strong growth opportunities” to generate, according to a corporate statement, “more than 10,000 jobs across the region, with much of that hiring complete or underway.”


Mercedes Near Decision on Sharing Mexican Plant with Nissan

“Potential pros and cons,” says Zetsche.

by on Sep.28, 2012

Zetsche is apparently leaning towards sharing a Mexican assembly plant with Nissan.

Daimler AG will “probably” announce by year-end a decision on where it will build a new North American assembly plant, Chairman Dieter Zetsche tells, and there is a strong possibility that the new factory will be part of a planned mega-complex alliance partner Nissan has already committed to in Mexico.

“We are investigating the potential of our plants operating together,” said Zetsche, confirming a story first reported by earlier this year.

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Daimler needs more capacity to supply North America and other markets , having reached the limits of what it thinks can be done out of its existing Mercedes-Benz assembly plant near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Until now, Zetsche had only confirmed that it was looking at various sites in the U.S., Canada and the U.S.


Mexico Auto Output to Jump 38% in 3 Years

Low wages, good location offset concerns about the ongoing drug war.

by on Aug.30, 2012

Workers in Puebla gathered to celebrate the launch of production of the latest VW Beetle.

While Mazda may have abandoned its decades-old joint venture with Ford, transferring production of the Mazda6 sedan back to Japan, the maker isn’t walking away from North American production entirely.

By mid-decade, the Japanese maker plans to open a new factory in Mexico to produce smaller products like the Mazda3.  And it isn’t alone.  Honda, Audi and Nissan are among the growing list of automotive manufacturers who have announced big plans for Mexican plants.  Mercedes-Benz is also expected to add an assembly line South of the Border to complement the factory it currently operates in Alabama.

It’s all expected to add up to a whopping 38% jump in automotive production in Mexico over the next three years – an additional 1 million vehicles, according to the head of that nation’s investment promotions agency.

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“Other companies are exploring the possibility of opening facilities in Mexico,” Carlos Guzman, president of ProMexico, told the Bloomberg News Service. “We expect a very good period of five to seven years in Mexico in terms of growing (automotive) exports.”


Honda Latest to Add Plant in Mexico

South of the Border becomes the new direction for the auto industry.

by on Mar.29, 2012

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito, (center right) during groundbreaking ceremonies in Mexico.

Honda de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. has begun construction of a new plant in Central Mexico – making the Japanese maker just the latest to take advantage of Mexico’s low wages and strategic location.

The new plant will begin operation in 2014 with production of the Honda Fit subcompact model, said Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

Honda’s announcement comes barely two months after Nissan revealed plans for a massive, $2 billion assembly complex in Aguas Calientes, in Central Mexico – with Mercedes-Benz also considering construction of a new plant not far from the Nissan site.

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With this new facility in Mexico, Honda continues to advance its commitment to invest in and grow its operations in North America, Ito said. With growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, the new plant will increase Honda’s ability to meet customer needs for subcompact vehicles from within North America.