Mazda Motor Corp.'s decision to build a $500 million car and engine assembly complex in central Mexico, in partnership with Sumitomo Corp., is a boost for the Mexican plastics industry, sector leader Eduardo Martínez Hernández said.
The automotive industry buys about 4 percent of all plastics consumed in Mexico, Martínez said in a telephone interview. In 2010, manufacturers in Mexico processed 9.98 billion pounds of plastics, 4.6 percent more than in 2009, but still below the 2008 level of 10.1 billion pounds, according to Mexico City consultancy Grupo Texne.
“I don't have any information about what they will produce at this Mazda plant. What I can say is that 25 percent of the content of all automobiles assembled in Mexico is plastic and so, sure, the fact that there is to be more car production will help a great deal,” said Martínez, president of plastics industry association Anipac (Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC).
A positive aspect of the automotive industry, he added, is that it requires plastic components with high added value, “which is something that benefits the sector greatly.”
In a statement posted June 17 on its website, Mazda said it will build the facility in Salamanca, which is 155 miles northwest of Mexico City. Assembly operations are scheduled to start some time between April 2013 and March 2014.
The complex eventually will have annual production capacity of 140,000 vehicles and could employ as many as 3,000, Mazda said.
Mazda is investing 70 percent of the $500 million, while industrial conglomerate Sumitomo, which has interests in plastics processing, will contribute the remaining 30 percent. The two have established a joint venture called Mazda Motor Manufacturing de Mexico SA de CV.
The Japanese automaker described the future facility as a “compact vehicle manufacturing hub mainly for Central and South America.”
Mazda will produce the Mazda2 (known as the Mazda Demio in Japan) and the Mazda3 (Mazda Axela in Japan) in Salamanca, the company said.
“Since Mazda entered the Mexican market in October 2005, our sales results have steadily improved and in 2010 we set a new record for both sales volume and market share,” said Mazda President and CEO Takashi Yamanouchi.
Mazda will be the eighth company to assemble light vehicles in Mexico. Curently, seven vehicle manufacturers operate 16 assembly complexes in Mexico.
The seven are: Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corp.
Mexico facilities assembled 2.26 million cars and light trucks in 2010, up 50 percent over 2009, according to national automotive industry association AMIA (Asociación Mexicana de la Industria Automotriz AC).