Alfredo Arzola
Director General
Guanajuato Automotive Cluster (CLAUGTO)
View from the Top

Long-Term Planning Based on Unity

By Alejandro Salas | Mon, 08/03/2020 - 05:00

Q: How has CLAUGTO advanced in its goal to attract more Tier 2 providers to the state?

A: In 2018, Guanajuato received 40 automotive companies that began or are about to begin activities in 2019. Leon welcomed 20 of these companies, many of them of German or Japanese origin, and created new areas where they could settle, such as the Colinas del Rincón and Colinas de León industrial parks. Two other new parks were developed near Queretaro, filled with Toyota and BMW suppliers. These two parks host the other 20 businesses that arrived to Guanajuato.

Q: How can Mexican companies take advantage of the opportunities created by these newcomers?

A: Automotive companies are an important source of jobs for Guanajuato. Assembly and auto parts businesses collectively generate 110,000 direct jobs, 20,000 at assembly plants and 90,000 at auto parts companies. In addition, approximately 100,000 jobs are generated indirectly through the use of products and services. Overall, the automotive sector contributes 20 percent of the state’s formal employment and 80 percent of its exports. Unlike Queretaro and San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato is an economically varied state that does not only focus its activities on the automotive sector. For example, 800,000 direct jobs are generated by the leather, footwear and general services sectors in the state.

Q: What is the cluster doing to foster the sector’s development?

A: CLAUGTO works with both OEMs and suppliers of all levels to support their development, promote good manufacturing processes, incentivize relationships between suppliers and buyers and foster their technological development.

Tier 1 companies play an important role in the state’s and the sector’s development due to the weight they have given the number of jobs they generate, representativeness and the high added value of their processes. In addition, Tier 1 companies offer the best opportunities for research, work and development in the automotive sector. Tier 1 companies have a greater contribution to human capital development, job specialization, as well as fostering diversification of knowledge in the automotive sector.

Q: How will Mexico’s Network of Automotive Clusters help consolidate the automotive industry?

A: Mexico’s automotive clusters already comply with a certification granted by the EU to contribute to the development of the industry. There are several clusters globally that already have the same dynamic and have achieved significant development through greater collaboration and the adoption of triple-helix and quadruple-helix models. The latter is based on the triple helix, but it is much more focused on technology and innovation and considers cities and communities as the fourth pillar of the model. For example, the automotive clusters of Germany and France involve a wide range of participants, such as academia, the government, civil society and others to foster the development of the sector as one. As a result, changes in government do not affect the sector because there is already a commitment from society, companies and others to provide projects with continuity. The cluster network will serve to enhance the sector's productivity through industrial policies and will incorporate a long-term vision to detonate development of all the players in the industry.

Q: What strategies should be implemented to increase the state’s attractiveness?

A: The Bajio region is an area with elevated economic development. Nonetheless, it is also a region with significant security concerns. We think this is because of the political transition that we are undergoing. Violence impacts the entire country and is also reflected in the planning of production and logistics activities. We have seen strong involvement and support from state authorities to reinforce security in the state.

Q: What role does CLAUGTO want to play in helping companies adapt to the new USMCA trade environment?

A: The renegotiation of NAFTA, now USMCA, reinforces the need to develop more local providers for the industry. Despite the industry's strong progress in implementing Industry 4.0 technologies, most Japanese firms have stressed the need to continually enhance Mexican firms' production processes. The Japanese government also noted that Mexico needs to enhance its industrial culture. The country has well-prepared businesses with great expertise in the production of plastic injection, machining and packaging products. Yet, when delivering products there are delays and complications. By sharing its lean methodologies, the Japanese government has guided the cluster in developing a culture of continuous improvement.


The Guanajuato Automotive Cluster (CLAUGTO) was officially launched in 2012 as a civil association made up of six committees focused on preserving and promoting the development of the automotive industry in the state

Alejandro Salas Alejandro Salas Senior Editorial Manager