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Borderlands: Mexico’s heavy-duty truck production, exports surge

Truck makers in Mexico exported 11,712 heavy vehicles during February, with the U.S. market accounting for 95% of exports for the month. (Photo: Noi Mahoney/FreightWaves)

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Mexico’s heavy-duty truck production, exports surge in February; Mattel will invest $47 million in a Mexican factory; Cummins moves a production line to San Luis Potosí; and traffickers create a logistics company to distribute meth.  

Mexico’s heavy-duty truck production, exports surge in February

During February, 14,346 heavy-duty trucks were produced in Mexico, an increase of 41% compared to the same month in 2021, according to data from Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography.

Mexico exported 11,712 heavy vehicles during February, a year-over-year increase of 31%. The U.S. was the main export market for Mexican-made heavy-duty trucks, with 95.3% of total exports for the month. Canada (1.7%) and Colombia (1.5%) were second and third.

“Production [in February] improved due to greater availability of semiconductors,” said Miguel Elizalde, president of Mexico’s National Association of Bus, Truck and Tractor Producers (ANPACT).

Truck makers in Mexico have been hampered by a shortage of semiconductors that has impacted the global automotive industry.

Elizalde cautioned that while February saw increased exports and manufacturing, Mexico’s truck production sector could see supply chain issues throughout 2022 because of global volatility.

“[Supply chains] have not been fully resolved,” Elizalde said during a monthly press conference. “We cannot minimize the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine, but for the moment we do not see a direct impact on the supplier because it does not depend on these countries.”

Truck makers and parts manufacturers with assembly plants and factories in Mexico include Freightliner, Kenworth, Navistar, Hino, International, DINA, MAN SE, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu, Scania, Cummins and Detroit Diesel, according to ANPACT.

The top heavy-duty truck producers in Mexico during February include:

  • Freightliner with 8,904 trucks.
  • International Trucks Inc., 3,850 units.
  • Kenworth, 1,117 units.
  • Volkswagen, 190 units.
  • Hino, 14 units.
  • Isuzu, six units
  • DINA, two units. 

Mexico’s top heavy-truck exporters during February were:

  • Freightliner, 8,048 units.
  • International, 3,138 units.
  • Kenworth, 523 units.
  • Dina, two units.

Watch: FreightWaves’ shipper update for March 25

Toy maker Mattel to invest $47M in Mexican factory

Toy maker Mattel Inc. recently announced it has consolidated all North American manufacturing to its Montoi plant in Monterrey, Mexico.

As part of the consolidation, Mattel is closing its factories in Tijuana, Mexico, and Montreal. The company is also investing $47 million to expand the Monterrey plant.

“We believe that Mexico, given its geographical position, has a unique opportunity to position itself as a toy hub in the world,” said Ynon Kreiz, CEO of Mattel, according to El Financiero

As part of the investment, the number of workers at the Montoi factory is expected to increase from 1,600 workers to 3,500 by the end of the year.

The Montoi plant produces toys such as Power Wheels, Barbie and the Fisher Price brands, which are exported to about 30 countries. 

Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT) is based in El Segundo, California. The company has about 32,000 global employees and operates manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Thailand.

Cummins moves engine production line to San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. recently announced it is moving an engine manufacturing line from its plant in Jamestown, New York, to Mexico.

The company’s plant in the Mexican city of San Luis Potosí will now produce Cummins’ ISM11 and QSX15 engines used in tractor-trailers. 

Cummins is investing $11 million in San Luis Potosí as part of the transfer. The transfer will also create 50 new jobs.

“The decision to move this operation to [Mexico] is an opportunity to continue growing and boosting the company’s competencies, which will allow us to provide better business opportunities for our customers in different industries,” Ignacio Garcia, vice president of Cummins Latin America, said in El Economista

The new engine line will have the capacity to produce 2,700 engines annually, which will be sold in North America, as well as European and Asian countries.

Cummins (NYSE: CMI) is based in Columbus, Indiana. The company operates more than 30 manufacturing facilities in 14 countries.

Traffickers create logistics company to distribute $29M worth of meth 

Two Houston-area residents, Eduardo Figueroa Jr., 26, of Cleveland, Texas, and Cynara Lucia Sarmiento, 23, of Conroe, Texas, have pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 777 kilograms of meth.

Figueroa reportedly hired Sarmiento as his personal assistant and tasked her with leasing warehouse space and forming Hive Logistics, a business located in Houston.

Authorities said they executed a search at Hive Logistics and discovered 777 kilograms of meth, 10 kilograms of cocaine, ledgers, two pistols and five magazines. The meth was located inside metal barrels marked as mango puree, according to investigators.

The estimated street value of the meth is $29 million.

Sentencing has been set for June 1 before U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa. Figueroa and Sarmiento each face up to life in prison and a possible $10 million maximum fine.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]