If you had to name the country which had the second greatest amount of auto industry investment in 2011, which country would you pick? Here's a clue: It's not the US or Canada, but it is in North America.
That's right, it's Mexico, which, with $3.3 billion in auto assembly investment last year, came in second to China, which had a whopping $13.8 billion, or 56.6 percent of the market, putting it at the top of a 28-country list).
Still, second place isn't bad when you come ahead of Brazil, India, the United States, and Indonesia, which were the next four countries in that list. As well, Mexico's $3.3 billion is triple the amount invested in auto assembly in the US - the home country of several of the automakers doing the investing.
2012 looks like an even better year for the Mexican auto industry. Why? Because earlier today (April 18th) Volkswagen AG announced its decision to build a new Audi assembly plant there, which, according to industry analysts from Reuters and Automotive News, means that Mexico can now be considered a "major North American hub for light vehicle production."
With this move, Audi is joining the likes of Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., and Nissan Motor Co., all of which have plans for either new or expanded assembly operations south of the border, although it will be only the third company to produce luxury models there. To date, the only such cars built in Mexico are the Cadillac SRX crossover, Escalade EXT pickup, and the Lincoln MKZ sedan.
Overall, light vehicle production in Mexico increased by 13 percent in 2011, to a record-setting 2.6 million units produced, representing 19.5 percent of the output for all of North America, statistics the Automotive News data center say.
According to representatives of the Mexican government, the country is expected to become the world's third-largest automobile exporter and the seventh largest producer of cars by the year 2017.