Automotive Industry and urban crisis: A window of opportunity for Mexico?

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Puebla (2016)


Since 2009, Mexico has produced 153 thousand vehicles in average each year, positioning it as the seventh biggest automobile producer worldwide. The investment announced in recent years (starting at 22 billion dollars) anticipate a production of 5 million vehicles in average by the year 2020, number that would place Mexico on a production level in between Germany and South Korea. This exponential increase in capacity of the industry plays a decisive role in the current environmental problematic, this subject can’t be detached from the critical conditions in which Mexico is, as a society facing a sustainability crisis, specially urban. From 2005 to 2013 Mexico City went from 3.5 to 6.8 million cars, in the next 6 years it’s estimated to reach 14 million cars if the increase is steady.
Mexico’s productive platform is oriented to internal combustion cars, the traditional tech scheme “pre- peak oil”. Mexico is home to almost every big player in the traditional industry, but not the new ones which are transitioning to a new paradigm of sustainable mobility. Under the current techno-politic and industrial principles, there’s not a clear course of action towards a new automotive industry, with R&D and significant resources. This quickly causes a paradoxical gap, where the national markets that requires a new offer of automobile goods, still bounded to expand to its limits the old model. The only character that can reverse this paradox is the Mexican state, since decades ago, linchpin of the neoliberal establishment.
The context in which is possible to move to a new production model is the urban. Cities have a strategic place in globalization: must of the globalization processes take place there, and in countries like Mexico, that has a strong economic and politic centrality, urban dynamics have national impact. We will analyze the legal framework of the urban dynamics on the subject of sustainability, as well as the possible politics on the subject of energetic transition. We want to propose a new possible model which contains regulations and an institutional framework oriented to the national production and active promotion of consumption of automobiles with new technology. We want to prove that it’s possible to initiate a process, within the cities, like Mexico City and Guadalajara, which can unify in a virtuous cycle of new developments, whether it is production capacity or urban necessities, in a country with worldwide weighting in both extremes: production and consumption.

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