President Enrique Pena Nieto was up in Aguascalientes this afternoon for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new Nissan plant there.
It was a fitting moment to take stock of Mexico’s extraordinary achievement in auto manufacturing – one whose repercussions are being felt even in New York City.
In the photo above, you see President Enrique Pena Nieto peering into a Nissan NV200 taxi that is already entering service on the streets of the Big Apple. The $29,700 vehicle is the vehicle of choice to replace the 15,000-strong NYC taxi fleet. The van in the photo already has stenciled on its side, "Flat fare to JFK."
And it’s being built in Aguascalientes, a state that Gov. Carlos Lozano called Mexico’s “little giant.” Lozano said at the ribbon-cutting that a Financial Times subsidiary, FDI Intelligence, recently declared Aguascalientes one of the 10 most dynamic regions on Earth.
Lozano said people from 27 countries now work in Aguascalientes, and that the state is one of the most important auto production centers in all of Latin America.
The plant, which employs 3,000 people, is the latest in Nissan’s expanding empire in Mexico, which also includes plants in Cuernavaca, Manzanillo, Toluca and Mexico City. All told, the company has 14,500 workers here.
Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said he hopes the automaker will build a million vehicles a year in Mexico by 2016, up from 600,000 a year now. Five of the 10 best selling vehicles in Mexico are now under the Nissan logo, he added.
Pena Nieto noted that Mexico is now the eighth largest auto manufacturing country in the world.
According to this PWC report, the countries in front of Mexico are China, United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea, India and Brazil.
Pena Nieto said Mexico is poised to jump a spot, presumably about to outpace Brazil in auto production. That can only be good news for Aguascalientes.