In 2012, Mexican light-vehicle production was 2.86 million vehicles, including 2.38 million that were exported, four times the approximately 600,000 exports in 1985. Over the same period, Klier noted, exports by overseas producers, as opposed to Detroit producers, increased to 1.1 million from fewer than 10,000. Meanwhile, the share of shipments to the U.S. has declined to 63% in 2012, down from nearly 100%.

One result of the shifting trend in export destinations is that while auto plants have historically been located in the north of Mexico, all of the new plants will be in the interior, enabling better access to ports. The Atlantic Port of Veracruz is the primary gateway for Mexican automotive exports, but the Pacific ports of Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo are also benefiting from the growth.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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