Much of the talk about the automotive industry today focuses on emerging markets such as India and China, but in fact one of its oldest heartlands – the US – is experiencing a new bout of manufacturing investment after finally pulling clear of the last vestiges of the 2008 recession. Sales of cars and light trucks currently stand at 17m per year, and analyst IHS predicts that production will rise from this level to 19m by 2022. Nor is it only US manufacturers which are building new facilities, renovating old ones and refreshing their production line-up; they are being joined by OEMs from Europe and Asia, some of which are establishing a production presence in North America for the very first time.
In fact, the biggest excitement is to be found in Mexico, where low-cost labour, government incentives and multiple free-trade deals with the international community are feeding an investment, and production, boom. OEMs with an existing presence are expanding their facilities, while new arrivals are helping to develop a number of automotive production hubs in the country.
All this and more is covered in our special North America edition, which is available to view for free here. The in-depth articles (also with summaries in Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese) are as follows:
- Rise before a fall – an extensive overview of the North American market, plus production investments
- Bodyshop of the future – we take a look inside the revolutionary new F-150 bodyshop at Ford Dearborn
- Interview: Ford's Ron Ketelhut – we speak to the chief body construction engineer who masterminded the transformation of the F-150 bodyshop
- FCA's Jeep juggernaut – we visit the Toledo plant which is home to the Jeep and one of the highest-performing North American factories
- Interview: Chuck Padden, FCA US Toledo – we speak to the plant manager who runs the Ohio facility, the OEM's largest in North America
- LDT: GM's Delta force – we visit the vehicle-maker's newest plant in North America, which is currently building a $583m bodyshop
- Interview: GM's Mike Trevorrow – we talk to the LDT plant manager about the new, mixed-material bodyshop
- Spartanburg: SUV superstar – we examine BMW's immense yet still growing operation in South Carolina and speak to the head of production, Manfred Erlacher
- Mercedes: At home in Alabama – we assess why the German OEM keeps on investing at its Tuscaloosa plant
- An empire rises – we provide an overview of Toyota's expanding operations across North America
- A magnet for manufacturing – we look at why Mexico is such a big draw for global OEMs
- Puebla pushes on – we visit VW in Mexico to see the new, $700m bodyshop for the Golf 7
- Interview: Thomas Karig at VWdM – the vice-president of corporate affairs discusses the OEM's long history in Mexico, and its recently announced $1 billion investment
- Nissan's A-team in Mexico – we discuss the vehicle-maker's expanding complex at Aguascalientes
- Interview: Keishi Egawa, Mazda – we tour the company's first North American factory, at Salamanca, and speak to its CEO and president in Mexico
- Honda: Getting Fit in Mexico – we look at the OEM's operations in the country, including its new Celaya plant.