Crisis, Restructuration and Territorial Configuration of the Automotive Industry in Mexico City 1993-2010

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Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Selva Daville


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2011)


2008–2009 economic crisis, Autopa Parts


Crisis, Restructuration and Territorial Configuration of the Automotive Industry in the Federal District (Mexico City), 1993-2010
By Selva L. Daville Landero
Researcher CEIICH-UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
From the 1990’s on, and specifically from 1994 when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force, the policy of reorienting the Mexican economy toward the outside world was stepped up and trading competition increased, thereby strengthening Mexican dependency on and economic integration to the United States. The automotive industry in particular has gone through significant transformations, both in regard to modernization and territorial relocation, in order to face this process (Carrillo, 2007). This paper discusses the changes that have been taking place in the automotive industry established in Mexico City and their territorial deployment, based on existing statistic data from the Census and survey evidence from the industry companies. It should be noted that the automotive sector is only comprised by the auto parts industry due the closing of the formerly existing automotive manufacturing plants.
At the same time, this work is framed within an ongoing, unprecedented world crisis —which started in 2008, though it is still unclear when it will end— that enables us, based on the challenges it poses, to explore in great depth whether we find ourselves at the brink of a second automobile revolution (Freyssenet, 2010).
One of the goals of this paper is to identify the specific characteristics that have allowed for the survival of the auto parts industry, in spite of the so-called “industry globalization”, the closing of automotive manufacturing plants and the process of deindustrialization, which begun in the 1970’s (Garza, 1985). In particular, an inquiry will be made into the survival strategies that have been followed by companies, whether they be large (where affiliates of major international auto parts companies dominate the market), medium, small or microbusinesses; the TIER 1, 2, or 3, with special emphasis on the context of the automotive crisis triggered in 2008; the changes that have taken place in the relationships with the manufacturing plants, and their suppliers, as well as the experiences stemming from such a crisis. Considering the central role they play, a special consideration will focus on the identification of the most important transnational auto parts companies, which have embarked on major restructuration processes around the world (Frigant, 2007, 2009)
At the same, the specific role played by the auto parts industry located in Mexico City will be determined within the national context.
Likewise, this paper will examine the role of public policy, both in its territorial arranging and its environmental dimensions) at different government levels (federal and local) in the restructuring of the industry and in its territorial configuration.
As an advanced hypothesis, it is suggested that the auto parts industry survival in Mexico City can be explained by the city’s privileged location (in terms of transportation and communication means), its industrial tradition and because it is the most important national market.
As to the survival strategies developed by companies, they are regarded as having chosen to diversify its clients, products and markets, such as the findings of my previous works show (Daville, 2004, 2009). By the same token, with regard to the role of automobile-related legislation, NAFTA-derived rules and regulations at the supranational level have carried a lot of weight.
Carrillo, J. 2007. “The historical evolution of American Auto Firms in Mexico”, 15th GERPISA International Colloquim, 20-22 Juin, Paris.
Daville, S. 2004. “Querétaro: Un pôle émergent de développement industriel”, Revue d’Économie Régionale et Urbaine, No. 5, p. 737-752.
Daville, S. 2009. Evolución de la industria automotriz en México y localización de autopartes en Querétaro, México, Tesis de Doctorado en Ciencias Sociales, UAM-Xochimilco, México.
Freyssenet, M. 2010. “Une crise peut en cacher une autre. Quel apport de la théorie des modèles productifs?”, VI Congrès de l’Association Latino-Américaine de Sociologie du Travail, Mexico, 20-23 avril 2010.
Frigant, V. 2007. “Les fournisseurs automobiles après dix ans de modularité: une analyse de la hiérarchie mondiale et des performances individuelles”, Cahiers du GRES, No. 20.
Frigant, V. 2009.”Winners and Losers in the Auto Parts Industry: Trajectories Followed by the Main First Tier Suppliers Over the Past Decade”, en M. Freyssenet, The Second Automobile Revolution, Basingstoke and New York, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 419-442.
Garza, G.1985. El proceso de industrialización en la ciudad de México, 1821-1970, El Colegio de México, México.

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