The momentary shutdowns of two Normal Motors crops due to provide chain disruptions despatched a ripple of fear all through the auto trade mid-month, with Mexico singled out for bringing manufacturing of the Chevrolet Corvette to a halt at its Bowling Inexperienced plant in Kentucky.
However trade officers on the bottom in Mexico say that provider crops are principally maintaining with their U.S. orders regardless of a brand new wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths south of the border that isn’t not like what’s taking place throughout a lot of the U.S.
Provide chain breakdowns occurring in Mexico seem like remoted circumstances, they are saying.
That does not imply there is not a hazard of Mexico as soon as once more falling behind on the sturdy orders coming from North American factories, because it did in late Could and early June. At the moment, U.S. cities got here out of lockdown weeks earlier than Mexico, inflicting manufacturing disruptions as U.S. crops ran out of Mexican elements.
Final week, Mexico surpassed 100,000 deaths from the pandemic, in line with the Well being Ministry, and two states lately entered probably the most restrictive “pink” tier below the federal authorities’s scale of inexperienced, yellow, orange and pink. A type of states, Chihuahua, is a serious producer of auto elements.
However regardless of the ocean of pink from coronavirus circumstances on maps in each the U.S. and Mexico, the North American auto trade continues to chug ahead in response to robust client demand.
“I’ve not heard of any provide disruptions, and usually manufacturing has been going ahead at a superb tempo,” mentioned Manuel Montoya, director of the Nuevo Leon Automotive Cluster in northern Mexico and president of the Nationwide Community of Automotive Clusters. Nuevo Leon state borders Texas.
“The one state of affairs we find out about entails the state of Chihuahua, the place manufacturing has been restricted on weekends,” Montoya advised Automotive Information. He added that he did not know whether or not restrictions in Chihuahua, which additionally borders Texas, had been chargeable for GM’s provide issues within the U.S. this month.
Chihuahua entered the pink coronavirus tier in late October, whereas the neighboring state of Durango entered early this month. The pink tier permits for “important financial actions” to proceed, which embrace the auto trade. Native governments, nevertheless, can impose restrictions on important industries.
In Nuevo Leon, which is within the orange tier, the one authorities motion has been to penalize companies that do not adjust to well being measures to guard employees, Montoya mentioned. The state, dwelling to the economic metropolis of Monterrey, has numerous automotive factories, together with a Kia meeting plant.
However state and native governments, basically, “are conscious of the significance of the auto sector,” Montoya mentioned. “They’ve stored the trade open.”
GM did cite coronavirus restrictions in Mexico as the reason for this month’s two-day Kentucky plant closure. The automaker didn’t determine the provider or the half that was in low provide.
Individually, GM didn’t determine the nationwide origin of a elements scarcity at its SUV plant in Arlington, Texas. Regular manufacturing on the plant continued however a weekend extra time shift was canceled.
Normal Motors de México mentioned in an e mail to Automotive Information that it has been working carefully with its Mexican suppliers and that GM’s crops in Mexico haven’t had common manufacturing impacted by provide interruptions. The automaker didn’t instantly deal with the Kentucky and Texas provide points.
“Suppliers have been shifting mountains to maintain their crops safely working,” the automaker mentioned within the e mail final week. “Our provide chain, manufacturing and engineering groups are working carefully with our provide base to mitigate any impacts on manufacturing, together with with suppliers based mostly in Mexico.”
Oscar Albin, president of the Nationwide Auto Elements Business Affiliation, mentioned in a presentation this month that Mexico’s $100 billion-a-year elements trade was primarily working on the similar excessive ranges as a yr earlier, with whole employment ranges down simply 5 p.c to 825,000 employees.
“Since recovering from the North American automotive shutdown beginning in July, we have now returned to virtually the identical [production] ranges that we had within the second half of 2019,” Albin mentioned. “Furthermore, we’re forecasting that December will probably be a good higher month than December 2019.”
Elements manufacturing by Mexico-based suppliers will fall about 20 p.c to $78 billion this yr, in contrast with 2019 when it reached about $98 billion, Albin mentioned. Earlier this yr, the affiliation had projected a 32 p.c drop in 2020 output.