The United States has requested that Mexico investigate worker rights violations that were alleged to have taken place at one of the parts factories owned by Stellantis. Officials are curious about what’s been happening at Teksid Hierro de Mexico, a facility located in the border state of Coahuila that’s responsible for manufacturing iron casings, in regard to unionization. According to U.S. officials, this is the fourth such complaint under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Having supplanted the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed into law by the Clinton administration in 1993, USMCA sought to rebalance trade laws the Trump administration believed had disadvantaged the United States. However, it also sought to advance worker protections in Mexico and give employees an easier pathway toward unionization.
When the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was being floated as a possible replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), one of the biggest selling points was the inclusion of new labor protections for Mexican workers. The Trump administration wanted to ensure serious labor reform took place south of the border to ensure union business was conducted responsibly and wages would increase. As a byproduct, USMCA is supposed to encourage North American synergies while gradually discouraging U.S. businesses from blindly sending jobs to Mexico to capitalize on poverty tier wages.
That theory will now be tested in earnest after General Motors employees from the Silao full-size truck plant voted overwhelmingly to dump the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) for the Independent Syndicate of National Workers (SINTTIA).
Last week, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made a pledge to legalize millions of vehicles being illegally imported from the United States. While it sounds like a phenomenal way to help the nation to contend with product shortages that are driving up vehicle prices around the globe, all of the cars had been smuggled previously and many were presumed to have been stolen.
This has created a lot of tension. Despite there being evidence that these vehicles frequently end up becoming workhorses for criminal cartels, illegally imported beaters also provide a cheap alternative to poorer residents right when automotive prices (new and used) have started to disconnect from reality. Times are tough and destitute families aren’t going to care where a car comes from when it’s the only one they can afford. So López Obrador has officially launched a new regularization program designed to bring these automobiles into the fold.
Ford has announced that 1,666 2021 Ford Bronco Sports are being called back for jiggly rear suspension modules. Seems that someone in the Hermosillo, Mexico assembly plant didn’t secure the rear suspension module to the subframe, which could affect the vehicle’s stability.
As General Motors takes aim at its own foot in the United States, it’s managed to become Mexico’s top automaker by volume. The company saw a nearly 3 percent U.S. decline in the fourth quarter of 2018, during which it announced the shuttering of several U.S. and Canadian facilities as part of a widespread restructuring program aimed at freeing capital for autonomous and electric vehicle development.
Meanwhile, large investments in its Mexican plants over the last few years — coming at the same time as rival Nissan’s scaling back of sedan production — has left GM as the top dog in the region. General Motors and Nissan have spent decades jousting for the top spot south of the border, alternating positions “depending on what has happened in their production levels,” according to Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst at IHS Markit.
In a bid to leapfrog General Motors in pickup sales, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley now claims his company’s Saltillo, Mexico assembly plant might continue cranking out heavy-duty Ram trucks after the next-generation model arrives.
Back in January, with the U.S. threatening steep tariffs on Mexican-made vehicles, FCA announced it would move Ram HD production to Warren, Michigan. The automaker promised $1 billion to Warren Truck Assembly to make it happen. Now, with a free trade agreement in place between the U.S. and Mexico, Manley says he doesn’t care where the trucks come from, so long as Americans choose them over FCA’s rivals.
Following some furious 11th hour bargaining, Canada reached an agreement with U.S. trade negotiators Sunday night, marking the end of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the creation of its successor, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. USMCA, for short.
While some of the finer details have yet to be released, the trilateral trade deal prevents the nightmare scenario of heavy tariffs levied on vehicles imported from Canada. To keep General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Honda, and Toyota plants humming, officials in the Great White North reluctantly offered up some milk and cheese.
Let’s face it: there’s few things more romantic than trains, and robberies of said trains have formed the backbone of great novels and films for over a century. The modern reality is not quite Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, however. It’s impoverished and not quite moral bandits piling rocks onto tracks in a bid to derail a train, then making off with whatever they can sell. No dynamite and bank vaults here.
In Mexico, the rising popularity of such robberies is proving an expensive headache for automakers shipping cars from Mexican assembly plants.
If you forgot today was the deadline for finalizing North American Free Trade negotiations, don’t worry, so did practically everyone else. In fact, the whole affair is starting to feel like that old car that’s been sitting in your friend’s yard for far too long. He keeps telling you he’s going to fix it up and make it better than new. “This is the summer,” he says. But you know he’s just going to keep mowing around it while it continues to rust and collect mice, so you’ve tried to push it out of your mind.
Like the restoration, the entire concept of a deadline for the trade deal is rather arbitrary at this point. NAFTA’s initial target date for an agreement between the three countries was March 31st, roughly one year after negotiations began. The May 17th deadline was claimed by U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who said Congress had to be notified under the Trade Promotion Authority statute.
“We need to receive the notice of intent to sign soon in order to pass it this year,” explained Ryan’s office. “This is not a statutory deadline, but a timeline and calendar deadline.”
Basically, Congress wants to influence the president and NAFTA negotiators to conclude talks swiftly and reach an agreement before midterm elections. But Mexican officials warned everyone not to get their hopes up. “The possibility of having the entire negotiation done by Thursday isn’t easy, we don’t think it will happen by Thursday,” said Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo earlier this week.
There’s good news this morning for Fiat Chrysler worker in the United States, and it’s also good news for members of the Trump administration.
The automaker has announced plans to sink another $1 billion into its Warren Truck Assembly plant and bring production of its Ram Heavy Duty models to Michigan from Saltillo, Mexico. At the same time, some 60,000 hourly and salaried workers in the U.S. can expect a $2,000 bonus (paid in the second quarter of 2018) in recognition of “their continued efforts towards the success of the company.” The move also means 2,500 previously unannounced jobs for Michigan.
What’s behind all of this sudden goodwill? Recent changes to the country’s tax landscape, FCA claims.
“It is only proper that our employees share in the savings generated by tax reform and that we openly acknowledge the resulting improvement in the U.S. business environment by investing in our industrial footprint accordingly,” said CEO Sergio Marchionne in a statement.
So, how does this production shuffle play out, and what’s the backstory here?
In public, automakers talk a great game about the industry’s electric future. The money poured into the development of electric vehicles is necessary, they say, in order to stay competitive in a changing marketplace. It wasn’t long ago that Ford claimed 100 miles of range was just fine for an EV model; not long after, following the introduction of the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt, it announced the development of an EV crossover with far greater (300-mile) range.
Whether or not electric power becomes the dominant propulsion source in the United States remains to be seen, but no automaker can be seen resting on its laurels, shunning the most hyped technology. That doesn’t mean a company can’t be realistic about it, though.
Ford’s electric crossover, expected to roll out of Michigan’s Flat Rock assembly plant in 2020, will instead roll out out of a factory in a much warmer (and cheaper) locale.
The only thing better than two plants producing North America’s hottest-selling midsize pickup is three plants churning them out. That’s a big part of Toyota’s plan to stay ahead of General Motors and future competitors like Ford in the small yet vital segment.
Despite making every effort over the past year to build more Tacomas at its Tijuana, Mexico, and San Antonio, Texas, assembly plants, those facilities are maxed out, leading to Toyota’s August decision to punt Corolla production (initially bound for a planned Guanajuato, Mexico, plant) to a new $1.6 billion U.S. facility in the near future.
On paper, the Guanajuato plant aimed to produce 200,000 Corollas per year. Well, those plans have changed. Toyota now says it will drop its investment in the plant from $1 billion to $700 million, with production capacity dropping by half. That still means 100,000 extra Tacomas for a hungry customer base.
Automakers spent Wednesday surveying factory sites in Central Mexico after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake ravaged the region Tuesday evening. However, after some momentary shutdowns, it’s looking like business as usual for most manufacturers. Despite countless injuries, over 200 fatalities, and widespread damage yet to be fully assessed, the automotive industry emerged from the quake largely unscathed.
Arguably the hardest hit, Volkswagen Group’s Puebla plant temporarily halted assembly so workers could inspect buildings for damage. Finding no significant structural harm, factory employees resumed third-shift production of the Jetta and Golf.
Audi’s crossover plant, also in the state of Puebla, sustained no obvious damage. It’s second shift was halted early on Tuesday as well. The company said third-shift production was canceled so that employees could attend to their loved ones after the quake.
Today marks the third and final entry in our Domestics Abroad miniseries. This is where we take a look at the models proffered around the globe that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille, but are not offered in the brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.
We kicked off this series with Ford and its 13 qualifying models. Second was Chevrolet, which had 9 models accounted for, and one which I forgot (you can see it below the jump). The Unmentionables will cover the remaining international offerings from Buick, Dodge, and Ram.
Tesla Motors is headhunting engineers from Mexico to work on automated equipment at its Freemont, California factory. While the brand can still call the forthcoming Model 3 “the most American” car in the world — once it takes delivery of Nevada-produced 2170 battery packs — it might not be able to make the same claim for its workforce.
The brand has had union troubles with the German robotics unit supplying the automated assembly lines essential for the Model 3’s timely production. While the recruitment effort in California may not be a direct response to that, it is definitely part of Tesla’s efforts to ensure it can adhere to the timetable it has set for the electric vehicle. The company has preorders out the wazoo and wants to build 500,000 cars a year at the Fremont plant by 2018, which requires a sextupling of 2016’s production figures.
According to a report from a Minnesota news outlet, Mexican drug smugglers and their American co-conspirators are using imported Ford Fusions to ferry marijuana across the border.
The news follows recent drug busts in the state, with suspicion growing that the $1.4 million in weed found in 22 Fusions bound for dealerships is part of a larger smuggling ring.
In the international poker game of NAFTA re-negotiations, U.S. President Donald Trump should not assume his Mexican opponent will be playing with a losing hand, an auto industry expert says.
“I’m going to be surprised if we see a heck of a lot changed,” said John Holmes, researcher at the Automotive Policy Research Centre at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. “The industry now is so highly integrated.”
Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s senior trade negotiator, reaffirmed his position to break off talks to reconfigure NAFTA, saying his country will completely abandon talks if the United States continues threatening levies and caps on products coming in from its southern border. He said Mexico will refuse to even consider the kind of tariffs President Trump has discussed and revert back to World Trade Organization rules. Under those guidelines, the most the U.S. could impose on a Mexican product would average 3 percent.
“The moment that they say, ‘We’re going to put a 20 percent tariff on cars,’ I get up from the table,” Guajardo said in an interview. “Bye-bye.”
Since the inauguration of U.S. president Donald Trump, Canadian political and auto industry officials have taken every opportunity to highlight the economic prosperity and millions of jobs that depend on cross-border trade. And the lobbying seems to have paid off.
At a joint press conference following the first official meeting Monday between Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the U.S. leader praised the economic ties between the two countries.
“We have a very outstanding relationship with Canada. We’ll be tweaking it,” said Trump. “We’ll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries.”
At the same time, he took a swipe at the trading relationship with Mexico, calling it “unfair to the United States.”
A border tax placed on Mexican goods bound for the United States would be a worst-case scenario for struggling Volkswagen.
The automaker, which already knows a few things about worst-case scenarios, is waiting on pins and needles to see if the proposed tax prices its small cars out of the market.
Automakers are waiting with bated breath to see where the pieces land once President Donald Trump complete’s the country’s trade revamp. One proposal would see a border tax of 20 percent placed on goods imported from other countries — a move that would impact the cost of manufacturing vehicles, and buying them.
Not every automaker would see a similar financial hit. Domestic manufacturers that use a high degree of parts built in the U.S., especially those that build few models in Mexico for delivery in the States, wouldn’t see much on an impact. For those that import most or all of their U.S. fleet from foreign factories, the cost per vehicle could be enormous. Customers, of course, would need to make up the difference.
While the tax proposal might come to nothing, a recent study shows what consumers could expect to see on window stickers if the idea becomes policy.
Consumer products and vehicles produced outside of the U.S. could see a big hike in sticker price if the Trump administration goes ahead with a proposed plan to tax Mexican goods — and eventually all foreign goods — to the tune of 20 percent.
The White House said today the measure is being looked at as part of a wide-ranging tax overhaul package under consideration by Congress. The announcement came after an anticipated visit by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto went south.
After being warned against producing vehicles in Mexico, German automakers are not scrambling to re-think their production plans.
In an interview with the German publication Bild, President-elect Trump issued a now-familiar warning to the country’s manufacturers — essentially, any vehicles imported into the U.S. from Mexico will face a 35 percent tax.
The Germans, for the most part, aren’t buying it. Meanwhile, the country’s economy minister saw Trump’s remarks as an opportunity to engage in some not-so-friendly automotive ribbing.
Update: Added dealer info, sales background.
Contrary to a statement released two days ago by General Motors, it seems not all Cruze sedans sold in the United States are made in the United States.
According to TTAC alum Ed Niedermeyer, a number of 2017 Chevrolet Cruzes — even those for sale at a dealer in Lordstown, Ohio, where GM manufactures the Cruze in the United States — are Hecho en Mexico.
Tuesday’s surprise announcement by Ford, where it declared plans for a new Mexican assembly plant were as dead as disco, turned up the heat on other automakers.
With President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise of a hefty import tax weighing heavily on the minds of auto executives, long-term production plans are being placed in limbo across the industry.
Updated with statement from General Motors.
It’s not just Ford’s Mexican assembly plants that has President-elect steaming on Twitter.
Donald Trump’s latest online automotive salvo wasn’t directed at the Blue Oval, which was a favorite corporate punching bag during the election campaign. Rather, it was General Motors’ turn to be blasted.
Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky assembly plant will continue to crank out Lincoln MKC crossovers, rather than head down south for a Mexican vacation.
The news, which Ford confirmed after an enthusiastic President-elect Donald Trump tweeted it, means the automaker will need to look elsewhere for more Escapes. It doesn’t, however, mean a factory closing was averted.
There’s something about billions of dollars in investment and carefully planned long-term product strategies that make it hard for an automaker to turn on a dime in the face of a threat.
Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields says his company has no plans to reverse course on its goal of boosting production of cars and components in Mexico, even after President-elect Trump’s promise of a 35-percent tariff on vehicles crossing the Rio Grande.
It’s a game of chicken Ford intents to win.
Not knowing what to expect from President-elect Donald Trump once he moves into the White House, automakers spend yesterday issuing nice-sounding congratulatory messages that masked an industry-wide concern over what happens next.
Formal pleasantries aside, one automaker feels that Trump’s policies could stand to benefit its bottom line.
That sound you hear — besides that of pollsters hastily preparing new career paths — is the American automobile industry collectively holding its breath.
Donald Trump’s move from presidential candidate to president-elect, largely the result of disaffected voters in traditional manufacturing hot spots (though a nationwide movement to shake up D.C. can’t be ignored), could spell a tumultuous near future for automakers.
“May you live in interesting times,” the saying goes. How interesting remains to be seen.
So, there’s an election on, and a certain candidate has made some high-profile, sometimes inflammatory comments about American manufacturing and jobs being sent south of the Rio Grande. That person’s name is Donald T. No, perhaps that’s too obvious. D. Trump.
The Republican nominee recently found himself in a cage match with Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields after accusing the automaker of sending its jobs to Mexico. But one manufacturer that Trump does favor, one that he invests heavily in and whose products he plans to use to build a certain wall, also has a “Mexican problem.”
As it announced a less rosy financial outlook for the coming year, Ford Motor Company repeated its promise to rid America of small car production.
Yes, Mexico will take on the task of building the Focus and C-Max as Ford seeks to maximize U.S truck and SUV production. Part of the plan includes offering customers less choice, with a drastic reduction in buildable combinations on tap.
Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to buy a Focus in a color that isn’t black.
Volkswagen is heavily considering adding an all-wheel-drive variant of the Golf hatchback to its North American lineup, TTAC learned during the media launch for the all-new Volkswagen Alltrack, itself an all-wheel-drive version of the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.
Dr. Hendrik Muth, vice-president of product marketing and strategy, explained the addition of 4Motion production to Volkswagen’s Puebla manufacturing facility in Mexico has opened up more possibilities, including the addition of all-wheel drive to the standard Golf hatchback.
After 25 years in production, the Nissan B13 chassis is not long for this world. New Mexican safety regulations will spell the end of the Nissan Tsuru, according to a report in La Jornada Aguascalientes.
While the Tsuru — sold here as the Sentra from 1991 through 1994 — remains one of the most popular vehicles in the Mexican market due to remarkably low prices and ownership costs, the lack of airbags and anti-lock brakes mean doom as the Mexican government begins to bring cars sold in the country up to the safety standards required in the U.S. and Europe.
When the new Kia factory in Nuevo León, Mexico reaches full capacity, 300,000 vehicles will leave the plant each year. At the same time, a jail cell door could slam on the government officials who brought it there.
The former governor of the Mexican state will stand trial on corruption charges linked to the tax deal behind the $1 billion assembly plant, Reuters reports. Prosecutors accuse Rodrigo Medina, along with 30 officials, friends and family members, of draining $196 million from public coffers.
The Dodge Journey often finds itself the butt of jokes and scornful taunts, like here, or here, but all laughs fade away eventually, and besides, Fiat-Chrysler’s archaic crossover is due for a platform swap this fall.
Not so fast.
An anonymous FCA source just told Automotive News that the Journey won’t shed its dated platform as planned, and might soldier on with its old bones for another two years — at least.
In an announcement that’s been anticipated for months, Ford Motor Company said today it will build a small car plant in Mexico’s San Luis Potosi state.
Ford will spend $1.6 billion on the facility, which starts construction this summer and will employ 2,800 workers by 2020.
The automaker isn’t saying what vehicles it will produce at the plant, but it’s widely expected that the Focus will move to Mexico after production stops at its Wayne, Michigan facility in 2018. Offshoots of the platform, including a rumored hybrid, could also be produced.
As wonderful as the American marketplace is, there’s an entire world — literally — of cars out there that we just can’t get our hands on. In TTAC’s new series, “Foreign Affairs,” we look at forbidden fruit that you can buy brand new around the world.
The Mexican new car market is remarkable. While plenty of good new cars come across the border, inciting at least one presidential candidate to threaten penalty taxes, its domestic market still continues to sell older gems, some of which are built to older safety standards. Even the Beetle was built there long after its sell-by date.
Donald Trump, while on the campaign trail in Michigan, is still promising to apply a 35-percent import tariff on vehicles built by Ford if it continues with plans to expand operations in Mexico, even though Trump wouldn’t have the authority to implement a tariff as president, reports The Detroit Free Press.
“We are going to do something that is going to (be) great (and) a very big beneficiary is going to be Michigan,” Trump said while speaking to supporters at Macomb Community College on Friday. “The car business is being abused more than most other businesses. … Mexico is becoming the new China.”
And we all know how much Trump looooooooves China.
Ford will announce plans early this year to build a new plant in Mexico, Reuters reported Thursday. The $1.5 billion plant will produce 350,000 cars annually and could eventually produce the new Focus after production of that car leaves Ford’s Wayne, Michigan plant in 2018.
Ford didn’t comment on the report.
Reuters said Mexican officials with knowledge of the facility confirmed that the plant would be built in the state of San Luis Potosi.
Nissan said it will produce a vehicle based on the Kicks Concept car shown at the Sao Paulo Auto Show in 2014. It will be sold globally, beginning in Latin America this year.
According to several reports, the Kicks would fit into the automaker’s lineup between the smaller Juke and larger Qashqai. Is there a hole for crossover sales between our Juke and Rogue? There’s only one way to find out.
The Chevrolet Aveo is the most popular car in Mexico, but is also the least safe, according to consumer safety experts. Testing from Latin NCAP found that the Aveo, when sold without airbags, received zero stars for its front-passenger safety rating.
Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal report that American safety advocates including Consumer Reports have written to General Motors CEO Mary Barra, asking why the potentially life-saving devices that are installed as standard equipment for many other countries, are expensive add-ons for Latin American countries.
(“Life-saving” assuming that Takata isn’t the supplier.)
Ram production will be coming back to the United States and car production moving to FCA’s Mexican operations, Automotive News is reporting citing anonymous sources.
The news comes just days after FCA and the UAW tentatively agreed to a new national contract while locals continue to hammer out the finer details at the plant level. According to the report, there will also be some movement of products within U.S. borders between FCA plants.
The Asociación Mexicana de la Industria Automotriz reported a 7% increase to 1.1 million new vehicle sales in 2014.
Nissan is Mexico’s best-selling auto brand. Sales at the Nissan brand jumped 11% to 291,729 units in 2014. Combined with Infiniti and Renault volume, the Alliance owned 28% of the overall Mexican auto market, up slightly more than a percentage point compared with 2013.
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- Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
- Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
- Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
- FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
- Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.