News, Insights and Best Practices for Manufacturing in Mexico

3 places to build your maquiladora in Mexico

21 Apr 2014

Category: Aerospace Manufacturing, Automotive Manufacturing, Electronics Manufacturing

There are many places for businesses to consider for expanding to Mexico. The Offshore Group offers locations in three different states: Jalisco, Coahuila and Sonora. Depending on what your business does, there are a variety of reasons for going to any one of those three places. Jalisco is known as the Silicon Valley of Mexico, Coahuila is the Detroit of Mexico, responsible for over a third of Mexico's steel production, and Sonora is only 60 miles away from Tucson, Ariz.

According to the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, Guadalajara, in Jalisco, is one of the major economic centers of the country. It boasts a population of over 4 million inhabitants, and is the second most populated city in Mexico.

Jalisco is located in a highly convenient area for doing business that offers several advantages. It borders Nayarit, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes to the north; San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato and Michoacan to the east; Colima and the Pacific Ocean to the south and Nayarit to the west.

It is extremely well-populated. The workforce population of Jalisco consists of 3.27 million citizens who are highly qualified for doing any kind of labor. More than half of those workers are less than 35 years old.

Guadalajara in particular is known for being the Mexican Silicon Valley. It is a major hub for technology and IT of all kinds. Primary business there includes the design of computer applications, development and testing, embedded software for automotives, along with wireless applications, printer and medical device construction and multimedia.

Guadalajara has eight of the 10 best contract electronic manufacturers in the world, which include Solectron, Flextronics and SCI systems. Manufacturers in Guadalajara build machines for IBM, ON Semiconductor, Hewlett-Packard and Kodak.

Coahuila produces over a third of Mexico's steel. Because of this, the region has become a major auto manufacturing center. There are over 200 maquiladoras in Coahuila that specialize in manufacturing for the auto industry. Companies that manufacture in Coahuila include Chrysler, Toyota, Philips, General Motors, Fiat, Freightliner, Delphi and many more.

Coahuila began building cars early in its history as a site for maquilas, according to an interview with Miguel Hernandez, General Manager of The Offshore Group's Manufacturas Zapalinamé. General Motors opened its first plant there in 1981, and the local schools began to train people for jobs. Saltillo, a major city in Coahuila, is known for its universities. It has the most universities per capita in Mexico. Before that, agricultural technology manufacturer John Deere had been operating for some time on building vehicle parts. Chrysler moved to Coahuila next, and workers started coming to the city to work at the automotive manufacturing plants there.

An entire car can be built in Coahuila. All of the necessary industrial factories are nearby. And the unions are very friendly. Additionally, shipping from Coahuila is very convenient. It is located next to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) highway, HWY 78, which goes directly from Mexico City all the way to Laredo, Texas.

Sonora is a large Mexican state with a population of 2.3 million. The average age of the workers there is 23 years old. The state borders the U.S., Baja California Chihuahua and Sinaloa. It has five airports with flights between Mexico and the U.S., including cargo capacity, which may not be necessary for most companies because of the proximity to the U.S. via car. There are six ports of entry across the Mexican border. There is a port by water, as well, if necessary, that is used by clients such as Ford and Motorola.

Industries that are expanding in Sonora include biomedical, metal and mechanical, electronic and especially the aerospace industry.

There are over 200 companies in the aerospace industry in Sonora. The aerospace industry began in Sonora about nine years ago when Smith West and ITT Cannon moved to the country to begin building there. The main clusters for aerospace in Sonora are in Guaymas and Nogales. Typically, companies will build anything from parts all the way up to the airplanes themselves. Thanks to the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement, parts made and approved in Mexico can be used in the U.S. without additional approval.

There are major machining clusters in Sonora, and a huge amount of electronics being assembled. The Northwestern Aerospace cluster in Sonora is responsible for over half of the aerospace activity in Mexico.

Companies that build in Guaymas include Goodrich, Sargent, Vermillion, Smith West, Esco Turbine, Parker and many others.


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