Coahuila, located in the Northeast of Mexico, is the third largest Mexican state after Chihuahua and Sonora. Saltillo, Coahuila’s capital, is located in the Southeastern part of the state. It lies 180 miles south of the U.S. border and has a population of about 700,000. The city is a mere fifty miles from Mexico’s industrial center, Monterrey, and permits prompt access to Houston and Tampico’s seaports. Its convenient location makes it central for distribution into U.S. and Mexican markets.
Saltillo had grown rich by exporting to the U.S. before the recent recession; exports fell by 12.3% in 2009, however. Fortunately, Saltillo has already recovered much of its losses with U.S. exports at a record high as of this writing.
The main economic sectors of Saltillo’s economy are automotive, metal-mechanic, electrical-electronic, plastic, and aerospace manufacturing.
Ninety percent of Saltillo’s economic base is comprised of automotive industry firms. The Saltillo automotive manufacturing cluster is Mexico’s largest. Mexico is the 10th largest vehicle producer in the world.
Saltillo is widely referred to as the “Detroit of Mexico” for its Chrysler and General Motors assembly plants. It is a key center for servicing the global automotive industry and offers competitive advantages such as a highly trained workforce, a superior infrastructure, and east access to large demographic markets. Approximately 1 of every ten gasoline engines in North America is produced in this region.
Saltillo’s labor force is exceedingly proficient, and boasts one of Mexico’s highest rates of productivity. Huge businesses have expanded and relocated here, with recent ones including: Askoll, Lennox International, Lay-Z-Boy, Magma Winmix, Heraeus, Spartech, Bocar and Camisa, Martinrea, Huntingtonfoam, and Foamex.
Companies such as Ericsson and Comimsa are among the technology and research leaders in the area.
Saltillo’s Business Climate
Saltillo presents an exceptional business atmosphere. Through multifaceted nature of its economy and the intensification of the education structure, Saltillo is one of the most appealing manufacturing locations in the Mexican Republic. It offers an outstanding international business environment, substantial access to global markets, a firm economy, superior quality of life, cooperative unions, world-class infrastructure, capable human capital, competitive incentives, and far-reaching government support for foreign investment.
Transportation in Saltillo
Saltillo’s international airport, ranked second in the country, and has daily flights to Mexico City and Houston, Texas. Its air terminal has custom services for shipping, cargo services, and phyto-zoo-sanitary inspections. There is also a railroad station which links to the national railway network, permitting access to borders, ports and the major cities of the country.
The NAFTA Highway (I-35/Mex-85/Mex-57) serves as support for the region’s vehicle manufacturing industry.
Saltillo's Educational Infrastructure
The city of Saltillo stands out for its eminent intellectuals, and for the high level of students that it sends to college. One of its preeminent institutions of higher learning is the Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila.
In total there are 179,200 students in Saltillo, over half of them enrolled in Elementary school. About 96.7 % of the population over 15 years old is literate, which compares positively with the 90.5% national literacy rate.
The Saltillo area has a good educational infrastructure for workers and professionals—there are 16 universities, 12 technical training institutes, and 11 research centers. Educational institutions in the area have an enduring connection with the local industry and structure their educational programs to fit their needs.
Coahuila Government Incentives
The government offers manufacturing incentives in relation to payroll taxes, training programs, and assistance in the procedures for meeting requirements at three levels of government.
Further incentives can be negotiated depending on the position of the new project, type of manufacturing activity, and the creation of jobs. Incentives open to negotiation include: infrastructure works, fees with the State Public Registry, and construction permits.
Automotive Manufacturing in Saltillo
With 27% of the nation’s automotive fabrication, Saltillo ranks first in Mexico and is recognized as a key platform for the global automotive industry. Manufacturers benefit from many logistics and cost advantages from establishing a local manufacturing supplier base in Saltillo, Mexico. Thirty percent of passenger vehicles, and sixty-two percent of trucks produced in Mexico are assembled here.
Saltillo OEMs and Main Automotive Suppliers:
Growing research and expansion capabilities in the area offer cost advantage to assembly plants and OEMs for product development.
Tier One Suppliers in Saltillo:
ARNECOM, S.A. DE C.V., BENTELER DE SALTILLO, S.A. DE C.V., BROWN CORPORATION DE SALTILLO, S.A. DE C.V., BURGESS-NORTON DE MEXICO, CIFUNSA, S.A. DE C.V. - PLANT I, CIFUNSA, S.A. DE C.V. - PLANT II, CIFUNSA, S.A. DE C.V. - PLANT III & IV, COOPER-STANDARD - FLUID HANDLING SYSTEMS, DELPHI DIESEL SYSTEMS - SALTILLO PLANT, DELPHI PACKARD ELECTRIC (XXI) - SALTILLO PLANT IAC NORTH AMERICA - SALTILLO INDUSTRIAS MARTINREA DE MEXICO, KAY GRAFICAS AUTOMOTRICES, S.A. DE C.V., LEAR CORPORATION MEXICO - FORD DIVISION, LEAR CORPORATION MEXICO - MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS DIV SANDEN MEXICANA, S.A. DE C.V., STABILUS, S.A. DE C.V., and PISTONES MORESA, S.A. DE C.V. PLANTA PERNOS
Corporations such as General Motors and Daimler Chrysler support Saltillo’s booming automobile industry.
GM has three divisions in Saltillo, occupied in motor and transmission assembly, body part stamping, and car assembly. Daimler Chrysler has two plants in Saltillo. One of Daimler Chrysler plants assembles Dodge Rams. The second focuses on engine assembly. These plants are provided by a large number of Mexican, US, European, and Japanese companies.
Saltillo is a prosperous manufacturing city in the high desert of northern Mexico. It’s strong manufacture-oriented export economy and growing automobile industry has made it an advantages Mexican business location. The close proximity to key cities as well as to the border in combination with its top-notch transportation infrastructure has allowed for cheap and easy transport of goods. The automotive manufacturing in Saltillo is emerging as a key sector to the global automobile industry. Its education system is of the best in Latin America, and often connects with manufactures to ensure their curriculum matches up with their needs to provide the best workforce. The competitive advantages offered by Saltillo have made this region a target for industrial manufacturing with an extensive supplier base. Saltillo continues to be one of the most attractive investment locations in Mexico.