Reinforcing Puebla, Tlaxcala's Automotive PositionBy Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 04/02/2020 - 15:19
Q: With the arrival of Audi and the consolidation of its entire supplier base, what is the status of the automotive industry in the region?
A: Some OEMs have already been in Puebla for more than 50 years and there are many Tier 1s already supporting them. Audi arrived here three or four years ago and the OEM brought many new suppliers to Tlaxcala and Puebla. In that respect, Audi’s outlook is different from Volkswagen’s. The latter has been consolidating its production and now only produces two models, down from five, although it plans to start producing a new model at the end of 2020.
Audi, meanwhile, arrived in Puebla to produce the Q5 for the entire world. This car is selling well but its future depends on several factors. Globally, the production of both Audi and Volkswagen has decreased. This has resulted in both OEMs and their supply chains lowering their projections.
Q: What strategies is the cluster implementing to strengthen the role of local suppliers?
A: There are not many local suppliers in Tlaxcala and Puebla. Most Tier 1 companies providing OEMs are transnational. Out of 10 Tier 1 companies, three are domestic. In contrast, Tier 2 companies are almost all national.
To strengthen these local companies, the cluster created three committees focused on human development, science and technology and provision. In the latter, we did a study and analysis with recognized companies and universities to map all providers in the region to identify their needs. Based on that, we will be able to support them properly by creating better alliances with relevant companies. The science and technology committee, meanwhile, is working on helping companies embrace Industry 4.0.
Q: How would you characterize the cluster's relationship with the new administration in Puebla?
A: Clusters work with different institutions and the government and we have to see them as partners. We collaborate to create promotion spaces for the industry. With the new government, there has not been much movement. Gov. Miguel Barbosa has been in power for a few months and the administration is still in a restructuring process. Similarly, there is no clear idea of what the Ministry of Economy wants to do in terms of investment promotion. As for Tlaxcala, the government is proactive and clear and we have worked with state authorities to encourage investment.
Q: How will the Mexican Automotive Cluster Network help the automotive industry nationwide?
A: There are now eight official automotive clusters in the country. The creation of the Mexican Automotive Cluster Network is a very important step that will help us tackle issues regarding the supply chain, science and technology and human resources as a united front. We want to use the network to boost the automotive industry’s presence in Mexico, which in turn will help the country grow its presence internationally.
We are also open to working with universities and the government to further promote the industry’s growth in the country. In 2020, we will continue to focus on consolidating the three committees that will also help us face the challenges resulting from the USMCA, including the new rules of origin.
The Automotive Cluster of the Center Region Puebla-Tlaxcala (CLAUZ) is an association that brings together companies, government entities and academic institutions to work on a common plan to increase competitiveness in both states