Mexico has come out to be the main competition for the Southeast’s automotive jobs, and experts in the industry are trying to persuade the auto companies in the region, along with its allies, to band as a group and meet the challenge.
According to the experts, Mexico has replaced the region as the North American area with the quickest-growing auto industry, that drew in $11 billion in investment from 2010 – 2012, compared with only $7.5 billion for the Southeast.
Many reports have named BMW as one of the automakers planning to build automobile factories in Mexico even though the German automotive maker hasn’t said it will open any plants in North America, in addition to the one it currently operates in Greer, S.C.
When Kenn Sparks, a BMW spokesman located in North America, was asked about the alleged Mexican plant, he said that any such announcement would come from BMW’s headquarters in Munich.
Sparks said, “BMW is a global company, and we’re always looking for locations that will expand our business.”
The vice president for business development at LMC Automotive forecasting firm, Rob Simon, said that auto production in Mexico is expected to increase over 20% from 2.8 million automobiles in 2012 to 3.5 million vehicles in 2015.
Simon said this would give Mexico almost 20% of all North American vehicle production.
Canada and the U.S. will find it difficult to contend against Mexico’s lower wages and massive labor pool. However, it is possible for the Southeast to create a competitive edge if it will produce engineers for the auto industry like Clemson University is currently doing at the Center for Automotive Research.