SHANGHAI – Mexico is trying to attract investment from China’s automakers, despite the fact that the global recession and the bad situation in the U.S. auto industry have paralyzed some Chinese firms’ plans to invest abroad.
The Latin American country is participating this year for the first time in the Auto Shanghai fair, one of the main annual events in the sector, which it has taken advantage of to hold meetings with some of the main Chinese automakers.
“This year we have two strong candidates who could make a commitment to invest in Mexico,” which would be in addition to the project FAW has for an assembly plant in the western state of Michoacan, the head of the ProMexico office in Shanghai, Luis Vieyra, told Efe.
FAW committed itself in 2007 to making a minimum investment of $100 million and to the production of 50,000 vehicles in three years.
Vieyra said that “other Chinese companies have already begun to carry out their feasibility studies to be able to set up their factories in Mexico and we believe that this year they could announce two new investment projects,” although he refused to provide any details.
Some of the large Chinese automakers were present at a seminar that ProMexico held at Auto Shanghai.
Yang Bo, a representative of state-owned Dongfeng, after visiting Mexico on three occasions, feels that it is a good place to enter the Latin American and U.S. markets.
“Our objective now is to improve and increase our relationship with Mexico,” said Yang, who also acknowledged that the economic crisis had affected his company, although he said he was confident that it would recover in the “near future.”
The executive coordinator of ProMexico’s investment projects, Emilio Mosso, said that the main advantages of his country for investments by Chinese firms are “its closeness to the U.S., which is the world’s largest consumer” of vehicles, and the web of trade deals giving Mexican exports privileged access to 44 nations.
But the slowdown has paralyzed some investment projects by Chinese companies in Mexico, as in the case of the Shuanglin electric vehicle component-maker.
“Right now we’re exporting many products to Mexico, and we want to invest directly and produce there to save ourselves on logistics and because that would help us export to Canada and the United States,” said the firm’s investment chief, Xing Zhongjian.
Xing said that “we planned to invest (in Mexico) this year, but the economic crisis halted our plans.”
“The automobile industry and the market in China are going very well, but the market in North America is going very, very badly,” added Xing, who went on to say that, if it improves, “we’ll certainly go” to Mexico.
The Latin American country is the 10th largest automotive producer in the world and turns out 2 million units per year.
Mexico’s presence at Auto Shanghai is being rounded out with representatives of the governments of the four Mexican states that are home to Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford plants. EFE