By on July 16, 2011

Mexico was one of the last markets to build the old VW Bug. The really old one. Mexico remains the center of Beetle-mania. Volkswagen officially began production of the new Beetle in Puebla, Mexico.

The Puebla plant is the largest automobile factory in Mexico and one of the Volkswagen Group’s biggest vehicle manufacturing plants. It supplies North and South America as well as Europe with the new Jetta. Along with the Golf Variant, the Beetle is built exclusively in Puebla and is shipped to markets in the world.

Germany, the land where the original Beetle had hatched, needs to wait a little until the latest Käfer arrives. It will be in dealers’ showrooms in Germany from this fall.

 

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37 Comments on “Beetles Hatch In Mexico...”


  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    How many executives does it take to cut a ribbon?

    Good luck to them. Does that mean Vietnam is out of the picture?

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    And the quality of the VWs made in Mexico is excellent. People who have bought them swear by them, not at them like they used to do with the VWs made in the USA.

    More auto manufacturers, both foreign and domestic, should take advantage of the labor pool in Mexico and move there. It may help keep many of those illegals home, instead of coming over here.

    It is a good enough reason for Mazda to pick up its toys and move South. It’s good enough for Ford, GM and Fiatsler to do much of their assembly in Mexico and reap the benefits of higher quality and greater profits.

    Let’s see Toyota, Honda and everyone else pack up and move South, too. That sure would cut down on the badgering of the UAW to unionize those shops in right-to-work states.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      My co-worker who worked at the Puebla plant would tend to disagree that the quality was excellent. For the most part the people who worked on the assembly line didn’t give a rat’s ass about doing their jobs as good as they could. For quite awhile he was at the pass side tire and wheel instal station. The wrench was automated and wouldn’t let the vehicle move until it sensed that the proper torque had been reached. IF the guy before him had cross threaded one of the fasteners he started so the tool wouldn’t sense things properly he’d take a big breaker bar and force it the rest of the way on so he could fool the wrench and send the car down the line w/o causing an interruption. He was also at the headlight install station for awhile and it was a similar thing there, if it wasn’t right they sent it on down the line anyway lest they get in trouble for stopping/slowing down the line and not meeting quotas.

      • 0 avatar
        stationwagon

        the problem is more about management than the workers. Expecting quality and not wanting to stop or slow the line.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        scoutdude, I have a long-time bud who now sells VWs for a living in the El Paso, TX, area, and he makes a handsome living selling VWs made in Mexico, supplementing his Air Force retirement. I do not dispute what you posted but the VWs made in Mexico today are far superior to any VWs that were made in the US, and have far fewer warranty issues than the VWs made in Germany.

        Several of the managers from the Mexico operation visit the various VW dealerships in the borderland area to learn if there are any problems and what they can do to correct them before the cars leave the plant.

        Long-time VW dealers have called this QC effort on the part of VW unprecedented. I owned a made in Germany 1982 VW Quantum and it had many problems. From what I have been told, all the VWs made in Mexico have to pass a very rigorous QC inspection, and dealers are noticing.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ highdesertcat…..Once again…give us a link to back up your statements.

        I personally have talked one on one to former, Mexican production managers,and waranty claims people, that would laugh at your assertations.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        mikey, I can’t give you a link to something that does not exist. All I can do is to tell you what I have been told first-hand either by friends or by relatives who sell cars for a living.

        My relatives tell me that all VW trade-ins usually sell quickly when compared to the turn-over rate for other cars, foreign and domestic. But VW trades are rare because they are often traded for another VW, a brand that my relatives do not sell.

        I don’t sell VW, nor do I care to own them again, but no one can dispute that VW is on a tear in the US, both in sales and in quality. I don’t comment on many threads, just the ones I know something about, unlike you.

        Feel free to reject my comments and skip over them if they do not suit your interpretation of the US car market or VW sales. But keep in mind that VW is not in the same dire straits as GM and Fiatsler and that VW is doing pretty well, both here and abroad.

        The fact that you talked to FORMER Mexican production managers should be an indication that they carry a chip on their shoulder. Maybe you would get a more accurate story from the current production managers instead of disgruntled former employees.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ highdesertcat.. This is what I do know. I talk to people that have forgot,more than you will ever know about truck build. I’m talking about engineers, skilled tradesman,mechanics, sales people, and former 9th level GM execs.

        When these dudes buy a truck? They specify “NO Mexican trucks”

        With all due respect sir, you don’t have a clue what your talking about.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        mikey, Ford, GM and Dodge make a lot of trucks in Mexico and they sell well in the US, just like ones made in Canada. But that is not the topic of this thread – we are discussing VW, its Beetles and their production in Mexico.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @highdesertcat

        And Toyota, which has moved the former NUMMI Tacoma production line to Mexico

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I can’t give you a link to something that does not exist.

        This seems to be a pattern with you — claiming to have sources with great authority that, in fact, don’t exist.

        All I can do is to tell you what I have been told first-hand either by friends or by relatives who sell cars for a living.

        Again, someone who confuses anecdotes with data, particularly when it supports his presumptions.

        My suggestion is that you stop relying on anecdotes that suit your mood and instead do some actual research. A place to start would be James Womack’s The Machine That Changed the World.

        Here’s a general hint: build quality has very little to do with the individual workers on the line. Nor should it; if it did, then it wouldn’t be a real assembly line, because the entire point of a line is to remove as much of the human element from quality as possible.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Pch101, it has already been established that you are the ultimate authority on anything and everything automotive since the beginning of time, or at least in your own mind you are convinced of that as you point that out to all of us time and time again.

        It would be wasted time and effort for anyone to tell you that not everyone shares your assessment of yourself, or that everyone sees the automotive world and the US automotive market the way that you do.

        As I mentioned earlier, I do not post often, and when I do it relates to a topic that I know something about. Your comments outnumber mine by an exponential factor and can be found on threads that haven’t even been written yet.

        Please do not stop stewing in your own condescending self-importance on my part. It may comfort you to know that I actually agree with some of your comments although I recall comments you made some time ago that you did not believe that GM and Chrysler would ever have to declare bankruptcy when another person had posted that he thought GM and Chrysler were toast. I believe you also called that person misinformed and worse…..

        I understand where your loyalties and sentiments are. But in some cases I just see the world and interpret the facts differently which leads me to make different conclusions. I carry no baggage like you do, and I have no points to prove. And if you don’t like my posts, feel free to skip over them.

        We all know what opinions are like, and you seem to have an overabundance of them. Most of us only have one.

        I have to keep my comment short tonight because I’m bushed. I spent the entire day up in the mountains preparing a property that has to be shown by my wife tomorrow and I’m going to hit the rack.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I recall comments you made some time ago that you did not believe that GM and Chrysler would ever have to declare bankruptcy when another person had posted that he thought GM and Chrysler were toast.

        Your recollection really, really sucks. Here’s just one comment from June 2008:

        “Chrysler will be sold within the next two years, at a loss. Cerberus’ plans to bring in overseas joint venture partners and expand its non-US business will have failed. The buyer might keep bits of Chrysler active, or may just part it out and use it for its own devices. It will become a much smaller company, or it will just disappear entirely…

        …GM will need to be bailed out, and it will be. In the process, it will offshore more jobs and cut their product line down by at least one-third. They’ll be restored to breakeven, at least on paper. Long term prognosis is poor”

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/06/question-of-the-day-where-will-carmageddon-end/#comment-481012

        Here’s another comment from January 2008, more than a year prior to the bailout:

        “The bottom line issue is that GM is running out of money. It has a frighteningly high burn rate, and a lack of diversity of revenue sources to replenish that cash as it turns to embers…

        …While I doubt that GM will vanish completely, I can imagine a much smaller GM emerging from a reluctantly filed bankruptcy that occurs once the cash is nearly gone, with a new management team that actually knows what it’s doing hopefully taking its place. Either that, or some outside company (most likely a foreign automaker) is going to pick up the pieces at a discount and do with the carcass what it will.”

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/01/general-motors-death-watch-159-gmnext-panic/#comment-96882

        A fairly, although not completely, accurate series of predictions, but exactly the opposite of what you claim. It’s as if you can’t help but be wrong.

        I understand where your loyalties and sentiments are

        Then you should know that I have a real fondness for factual information, and a real dislike of the use of anecdotes as a substitute for data, especially when the anecdotes are exceptions to the rule. I try to begin with facts, then use facts to reach conclusions, instead than starting with opinions, then making things up and ignoring most of the facts in order to defend an inaccurate position.

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        I have a ’06 GTI, built in Germany. Zero problems thus far. A friend has a ’06 Jetta, built in Mexico. Airbag and CE lights always coming and going. Germany One, Mexico Zero!
        Also, an uncle had an 82 Honda. It rusted. He’ll never buy a Honda again!

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Since when do Ford, Chrysler, and GM not have assembly plants in Mexico? Ford builds thier best selling car and truck in Mexico(The F-150 is built in KC and Dearborn as well). I much perfer the Wolfsburg built VWs to the Puebla built ones. I don’t even know anyone that “swears by” Volkswagen quality, let alone Puebla quality.

      Sending assembly jobs to Mexico to combat illegal immigration isn’t good policy either. Mabye we all could be illegal US immigrants in Mexico. Do you think the Mexican government will give us amnesty and exempt us from taxes?

      • 0 avatar
        stationwagon

        and get paid $100 a week. forget about it. I attribute the collapse of the middle class, to free trade policy and especially NAFTA.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        stationwagon, the money they get paid by VW in Mexico is very good pay for their area when compared what the average wage is. The only thing that pays better is the drug trade, but there are far fewer risks working for VW in Mexico.

        These people are also unionized but the difference is that their union welcomes working with their employer, VW, while the UAW has the proven and established indisputable track record of bargaining GM and Chrysler into the grave. There is a good chance of a repeat performance on the part of the UAW when they enter negotiations with Ford later this year.

        Ford, GM and Fiatsler saw a good thing when they opened their assembly plants in Mexico. Things that mattered to their customers and to their bottom line: improved quality, lower labor expense and higher profits.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        bball – F-150s are all built in either Dearborn or Kansas City. The vast majority of F-Series Super Duty trucks are also assembled in the US in Kentucky, the only ones build in Mexico are the F-650 and F-750.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I swear by VW quality.

        ^@$^ ^&* &)(&)_(&_)*^ %*%%##*($ &^)(^)(^)( %R*%%$##

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …my top-of-the-line mexican new beetle was falling apart from the day i picked it up brand-new from the dealer, cost an easy $3000 per year in unscheduled maintenance, never once had a recurring premature parts failure covered under warranty, and despite a light duty cycle and rigorously-upheld dealer maintenance regime looked like a worn-out cheap athletic shoe by the time i’d paid it off…

    …some of my acquaintances have had satisfactory experiences with their contemporary volkswagens, but common amongst the lot were german manufacture…i warn everyone shopping for my opinion to stay the hell away from mexican volkswagens unless they enjoy early-eighties general motors reliability coupled with early-two-thousands mercedes upkeep costs…

  • avatar
    mikey

    @highdesertcat….Okay…So we will just agree, to disagree.

    Have a good day.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      mikey, I believe that too. But I am also a firm believer in letting the other readers decide for themselves who the posters are that are a couple of cans short of a sixpack.

      And for what it is worth, we owned a 1982 VW Quantum, and it had many problems. I do not care to own another VW no matter how good everyone tells me they are. But that does not take away the fact that VW is doing very well in the US with all their products, including those made in Mexico. They must be doing something right.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        I don’t know, I had a ’95 Jetta and my wife had a ’96 GTI. Both hecho en Mexico and both complete POS’s. Got rid of both before the warranty expired. AC failed on both repeatedly, the gear shift mechanism disassembled itself on mine before the first service and it went downhill from there…

        Had an ’86 GTI before that. Drove it from 60K to 125K when it was totaled. It was made in the USA and had NO issues whatsoever during my ownership.

        I for one do not look kindly upon the Mexican built VW’s. MANY others that bought Jetta’s (most of which were and are built in Mexico) have been sorely disappointed.

        I’m not sure why you always rag on the US assembly workers. No, I am no fan of the UAW, however I am smart enough to realize that it takes two to tango. US management is as much to blame as the UAW for the hole they found themselves in, after all, they did agree to many of the union demands.

        A few weeks ago you made some kind of comment about the poor quality of US made Camry’s in the early 90′s I believe and blamed it on the aseembly personnel. That was the first and only time I have ever heard of anyone complaining about the US-assembled Camry with the personnel supposedly being the problem.

        Not sure about your attacks on Mikey either. I’ve always found him to be a very proud former autoworker filled with lots of knowledge that can be backed up, his comments are generally right on and he is (rightly) not shy about calling anyone out on anything that he knows or suspects to be false.

        As far as your other comment about all automakers should just move all prooduction to Mexico from the US, well, whatever dude. Moving even more jobs out of this country would not help the current economic situation and I’m not sure exactly which vehicle line needs a boost in quality that you assume would come from a South of the Border assembly point. I find it interesting that the automakers that are generally considered to be either of the higher quality levels (Toyota, Honda, now Hyundai) and those that are considered or were considered to be of high engineering standard (MB, BMW) have decided to set up shop in the US, not in Mexico, even in regard to the plants that were established post-NAFTA.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        WRohrl, if you followed the thread, I, too, had problems with the Quantum we owned. We won’t be buying any VWs in the future, no matter how good people tell me they are now.

        But VW is doing very well in the US, and their quality, according to those who follow it, has improved dramatically, to where it is on par with that of Ford these days. Many of those vehicles rated were made in Mexico.

        The quality problems with Toyota products made in North America, and the US in particular, is well documented. I have relatives who sell Toyota, among other brands, foreign and domestic, for a living, and they have told me that Toyota products have gone way down in quality ever since they started making them over here. Even Akio Toyoda acknowledged that, because of rapid expansion, their quality had diminished. They are going to be appointing ToMoCo execs to set up a steering committee to oversee quality problems. Did you miss that?

        And about the attacks on mikey, I did not fire the first salvo. I don’t comment often, and when I do I make sure it is on a topic that I know something about, unlike some of these other commenters who have a comment for every thread and every topic.

        I am often asked for my input about business decisions by my relatives and that’s why I read ttac and many other sites like autonews, the WSJ auto sections, and many others to gain a broader understanding of what’s happening in the US auto market.

        Do I see great things happening in the US auto market? Absolutely not! There are so many variables that can affect employment, housing, financing and consumer confidence between now and the end of 2012, that I would urge caution for anyone in business.

        I do think that if the transplants and domestic manufacturers moved production to Mexico there would be less for the UAW to complain about. The UAW has been against transplants setting up shop in the US from the beginning, unless it was on UAW terms.

        When business decisions are being affected by political manipulations, as in the Boeing case in SC, it’s time to end the debate and move production to where the business can make money. That has traditionally been outside of the US, as many other firms have already chosen to do through outsourcing.

        But the current topic is VW production in Mexico, and we should recognize the gains that VW has made, and the fact that they are rewarded with better quality and more sales in the US and abroad.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        @highdesertcat – Just to set the record clear –
        1. Your 1982 Quantum was made in Germany. Not in the US or in Mexico so it is irrelevant to your discussion.
        2. I do not believe that Akio Toyoda specifically singled out North American PRODUCTION (emphasis on Production) as the problem. I.e. that a RAV4 for example that was built in Japan was in any way better than the one built in Ontario. He seemed to blame any problems more on the engineering/design decisions, not the assembly workers/plant/location. The problems that I am aware of that he spoke to were also mostly US-Government derived and Toyota was exonerated by that same US Government in regard to the Unintended Acceleration farce. Perhaps I missed it, could you reference some specifics about the exact problems? ANY executive that has their company slagged the way Toyota was would make a public announcement about what they will do to combat the perceived problem, that’s just basic marketing 101.
        3.I’ve seen several threads now talking about your family’s Highlander and how it is superior due to being built in Japan; when it comes time to replace it you will not be purchasing a US-built one as you somehow understand them to be inferior. However, generally in the same thread, you heap high praise on your Tundra, which is built in the US only. It just seems kind of self-contradictory.
        4.VW has been building cars in Mexico for alomst 20 years now. VW in the USA is finally (this year I believe) starting to see sales increases. Do you really think this is due to the same assembly plant or just possibly due to the main current offering (Jetta) being perceived as more price-competitive? Same thing with the upcoming Passat except it will be built in the US, not Mexico, which in itself is interesting; if Mexico is the assembly quality holy grail and the US sucks so bad, why not expand the Puebla facility to build Passat’s as well instead of a new line in TN? Plenty of workers down there. I cannot believe that the assembly plant all of a sudden made a decision to do better work. Any quality improvement is more likely a result of improved engineering or better process management. I do hope they increase sales and quality, but time will tell. VW’s largest problem is that while their products are aspirational luxury, often times their clientele can’t afford the maintenance regime which is basically the same as any other German brand, i.e. you’ve got to keep investing in the upkeep on schedule in order to see a long-term result. People think they can afford to run a VW on a Toyota budget, this is not the case. You can generally buy them for less that an Audi, BMW or Mercedes but to maintain them it’s about the same in the long run. (And to any previous VW owners out there, I am not blaming all of the problems on the owners, many faults are either engineered in or caused during assembly or other factors.) VW is improving their sales game, quality is in my opinion still suspect, but while improving overall, I believe it a stretch to claim that “VW is doing very well in the US”
        5.Mikey asked you for some kind of a link to back up your assertion, later on you indicated that others had labeled him a troll, again he asked for a link to substantiate that, then you exited the discussion. He hardly “fired a salvo” he just was asking for more info about your research.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    My concern for VW, or any major company in Mexico, is how they keep things going when, from many news stories we get, civil order is rapidly deteriorating down there. Is the factory run by the cartels?

  • avatar
    epc

    I work in the manufacturing sector. And I can tell you that you can write as many work instructions as you want, install as many quality gates as possible, and train the workers until the hell freezes over, in the end, it is the workers that matter.

    If the worker had ethics, sense of pride and responsibility, then he will make sure he does the job the best he can. Otherwise, I refer you to the earlier comment whereby a worker Puebla used a breaker bar to fool the auto wrench and kept the line moving.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I question on if the issue is “where” it is built or “how” it is built versus the engineering that went into the vehicle prior to the assembly process.

    A car could be assembled by the best of the best of the best, with honors, but if the engineering that went into easing assembly, the engineering of how everything works, or the grade of the parts they have to work with are crap; then even a skilled craftsman is going to build – crap. If you have to start from crap, then someone with less skill is going to have an even harder time.

    Car comes home and drops its transmission at 250 miles – absolutely, someone screwed up at the factory. Shame on the point of assembly. But if a part wears out before the warranty is even over, or the car eats alternators, or the sheet metal starts rusting – the person putting it together put it together with what they were given, regardless of the country where it was built.

  • avatar
    rdeiriar

    Agree completely. It is easy to blame the workers for the (lack of) quality of a product, and yet, worker ethics are essential in the assembly of any product.

    However, workers can only do with what they are provided with. A good case in point would be the ever diminishing quality of the Brazil made Chevrolet Corsa.

    The early ones were good little cars, no matter if assembled in Spain o Brazil. If you inspect the bodywork of the current ones (now called Celta), you can see that the stamping dies are long due for replacement.

    Of note, our mexican-assembled servers from Dell have proven to be assembled with more care and quality than the equivalent HP ones from China.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I currently own three VWs. One is a 2000 Jetta built in Mexico. Very few problems with it considering its age. I’ve owned it since 2004, and nothing major has gone wrong with it.

    I also own a 2003 Jetta that was bought new. This car has had more problems. From a screwy makeup light/drivers side sun visor connection, to a failed injection pump at 111000 miles, to a bad temperature sensor in 2006. And currently the drivers side door switch is bad and I finally ordered a replacement for it (about a year after it went bad). I’ve taken care of the car, but there have been several minor problems that really shouldn’t have happened. Mostly electrical items of course. I can’t blame VW for the injection pump failure because they didn’t build the pump (Bosch did) and for all I know, it could have failed because of bad fuel over its life.

    I also have a 2002 Golf that I just bought that was built in Brazil. So far so good on that one. The PO had it dealer serviced so even if there were electrical problems like that, the dealer apparently took care of them.

    So anyway, those are my current experiences with VWs built in Brazil and Mexico. I’ve also owned two German built A2 Jettas (both diesels), but since they were such basic cars there wasn’t really much to go wrong on them in the first place. Although my ’89 Jetta did have a really stupid accessory belt design. The belt would constantly lose tension because there was no tensioner. I adjusted that belt more times that I can count.

    I like the looks of the (new) Beetle and might consider buying one in a couple of years. So hopefully they don’t exhibit the problems that my 2003 Jetta has shown.


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