thyssenkrupp Materials de Mexico: Where the future of the automotive industry begins
Mexico is a country of... car manufacturers. It all began almost 100 years ago with a Ford plant. Today, a large number of major manufacturers are based here. And they have one thing firmly in mind: the vehicles of the future. Because the mobility revolution is coming and poses new challenges for companies. The shift to lighter, more sustainable cars increases demand for new materials and strong partnerships with flexible and reliable suppliers. These are ideal conditions for thyssenkrupp Materials de Mexico, which as specialists in materials and services is supporting its customers in a forward-looking way and is currently building an additional state-of-the-art site for this purpose.
The Mexican market holds enormous potential for Materials Services: Mexico is the world's sixth-largest producer of cars and trucks. Around 90 percent of the vehicles produced here are exported, around 80 percent of them to the USA. This makes the automotive industry the second-largest sector in Mexico after food production, and it is growing continuously. Many world-renowned companies such as Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen manufacture their vehicles for North America in Mexico.
There is therefore a great need here for high-performance services from thyssenkrupp Materials de Mexico, as at its three steel service centers in Mexico to date the materials experts provide mission-critical services for their customers throughout the Mexican automotive sector. These include logistics, warehousing and management, pre-processing (slitting and blanking of shaped blanks), just-in-time delivery as well as technical services, raw material purchasing and import. This means that steel and aluminum do not have to be procured, stored and prepared by the auto manufacturers themselves. thyssenkrupp Materials de Mexico takes care of all this for them and delivers the materials in the specifically required processing quality exactly when they are actually needed.
But the car of the future will look and be manufactured differently from the vehicles of past decades. It will place different demands on materials. This calls for solutions – and forward-looking locations. One of these is the thyssenkrupp site in Silao with its three stamping lines. This service center is currently the only one in the country capable of producing aluminum blanks for the automotive sector. But in the long term capacity will not be sufficient, because demand for aluminum components as a substitute for steel in particular is growing continuously. The reason for this is the increasing sustainability demands of buyers, governments and the manufacturers themselves. In the case of e-cars in particular, weight is a decisive factor. The lighter the vehicle, the greater its range and independence from charging stations, which are currently still few and far between. In addition, a statutory Executive Order in the important export country of the USA stipulates that half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 should have battery-electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell drives. Increasingly, it's about finally reducing emissions in a sustainable way.
"When I started at thyssenkrupp Materials de Mexico ten years ago, it was already becoming apparent: Aluminum is the next big thing in the automotive industry," reports Dr. Olaf Voß, President thyssenkrupp Materials de Mexico. "It is now used by all manufacturers to save weight. And in electric vehicles, the aluminum content is increasing compared to vehicles with conventional powertrains. Therefore, as the only supplier of machined aluminum parts for the auto sector, we have to develop accordingly, increase the stroke rate and expand the product range."
Recognized and put into action: With an additional location in San Luis Potosi, thyssenkrupp Materials Services is investing further in the future of the automotive market, increasing its aluminum processing capacity with another Schuler stamping line – tailored to the wishes and ideas of thyssenkrupp Materials de Mexico. The new production facility is located in the El Bajío region in north-central Mexico. It is home to numerous original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), who produce around 50% of Mexico's auto production. From 2023 thyssenkrupp Materials de Mexico will be able to meet the increased demand for aluminum blanks even more efficiently and effectively and in the future supply all manufacturers in the central region. This will give auto manufacturers important price advantages over imported parts from the USA. In addition, the close proximity of the two sites in Silao and San Luis Potosi, just 200 km apart, means that production peaks can be easily balanced out during peak periods.
Around 15% of thyssenkrupp Materials de Mexico's sales in Mexico are currently generated with aluminum. The signs are pointing to growth. thyssenkrupp Materials de Mexico has set itself the task of supporting the future viability of the region as best as possible with its services and products and strengthening the special importance of Mexico as the heart of US auto production. The entire North American market is an exciting growth project for thyssenkrupp Materials Services. In the past twelve months the company has already invested around 100 million euros here. thyssenkrupp Materials Services is now investing around 37 million US dollars in the new site, which will focus on aluminum processing.
Electromobility, sustainability, resilient supply chains: With their "Materials as a Service" strategy for the future, the materials experts at thyssenkrupp are also finding smart answers to the major issues of our time in Mexico.