Expanding to Mexico has long been a way for manufacturers in numerous industries to reduce their production costs while still fabricating high-quality products. One of the country's rising specialties is in aerospace part production, which has seen consistent year-over-year growth for nearly all of the past decade. In fact, the global demand for aviation structures and parts is increasing, according to the Toronto Star, which is causing a boom in aerospace manufacturing. With Mexico's specialization in the production of aerospace materials and the need for aviation parts on the rise, the country is set to become an aerospace manufacturing powerhouse.
Rising prominence of the production of aviation parts
According to the San Antonio Express-News, Mexico surpassed China in 2008 as the largest exporter of aerospace materials to the U.S. and hasn't looked back. While the industry is clustered in numerous areas of the country, such as Sonora and Queretaro, manufacturers have expanded into many parts of Mexico. Baja California and Chihuahua are two of the areas that have seen strong aerospace growth as more U.S. businesses invest in offshoring to the growing aviation industrial clusters. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, in Baja California alone, nearly 236,000 employees work in the aerospace sector.
Americas Quarterly reported Mexico only had 150 aerospace plants in 2007 that exported approximately $2.7 billion worth of parts, but experienced enough growth that by 2011 the country was home to 260 facilities with exports reaching $4.3 billion. By the end of 2013, Americas Quarterly estimated the number of aviation factories will reach 300. The Washington Times reported nearly 36 plants opened in Chihuahua City since 2007 thanks to an increase in offshoring to the region.
The San Antonio Express-News reported the entirety of the country is focused on expanding its aerospace specialty and has seen strong results. However, one of the major reasons for the growth of the aviation sector was the country's focus on clusters, according to the source. Mexico's aerospace industry has five key clusters: Sonora, Baja California, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Queretaro. While activity in each of these geographic regions depends on the manufacturers centered there, each drives the aviation industry in the country and contributes to the overall success of aerospace production.
Mexico Aerospace Industry
Richard Aboulafia, an industry analyst for the Teal Group, told the San Antonio Express-News Mexico created an effective strategy to become an aerospace manufacturing industry leader for suppliers throughout the supply chain.
"Mexico's been very smart in not trying to break into the top end," Aboulafia said. "They're not saying, 'We want to build a Mexican national jet.' Instead, they're taking the very smart approach that they want to be part of the global supply chain."
According to The Washington Times, many aerospace manufacturers chose to take advantage of Mexico's highly skilled workforce and their ability to produce quality goods quickly. The source reported the aviation industry in Mexico experienced $1.25 billion in foreign investment during 2010 alone.
Mexico isn't close to done growing its aerospace specialty; projections hold that the industry will grow up to 20 percent each year through 2016.