The Benefits of Manufacturing in Mexico's Bajío Region

August 13, 2020

The Bajío region of Central Mexico, stretching through the states of Aguascalientes, Jalisco, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, and Querétaro, offers much to attract travelers — and manufacturers considering opening an operation in Mexico. 

"Bajío is the center of the country," points out Helio Barriga, Operations Director, Tetakawi, for the Bajío region. It's a strategic location for sure, a 7- to 9-hour drive to the northeast border of the United States and a quick 1- to 2- hour flight to any border state. And that central location helps manufacturers balance rapid export routes with more competitive costs and labor availability than some border states. 

Add to this a safe and beautiful locale, and it's no wonder that more manufacturers are establishing roots in the Bajío region. 

Hot locations in the Bajío

Barriga reports that the manufacturers Tetakawi advises are asking in particular about a few key areas:

  • Querétaro state. From cost savings to its skilled workforce, this small state in north-central Mexico has much to offer manufacturers. In 2019, foreign firms invested more than $1 billion in the state, much of it in manufacturing.
  • Guanajuato's Apaseos region, including Leon, Celaya, Irapuato and Silao. Since 2010, this state has led the Bajío region in manufacturing output.
  • Aguascalientes. The city boasts a young workforce and a central position connected quickly to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
  • San Luis Potosí. The city has a strong automotive, industrial cluster, which has helped it achieve the region's second-highest level of manufacturing exports. Between 2014 through 2018, 101 companies have moved into the surrounding area to benefit from this industrial connectivity. 

As manufacturing grows in the Bajío — by approximately 47% from 2013 through 2018 — clusters have sprung up particularly around the aerospace, automotive, and food industries. 

"Many of their customers are already here in the region, with its large OEM presence," Barriga explains. "Manufacturers have access to more than 50 OEMs and more than 200 T1 and T2 suppliers in the automotive, aerospace, home appliances, and food industry within a 3.5-hour drive." Plus, he adds, "This region is good for agriculture, so the food industry is very well received here." 

Improving connectivity 

These growing industrial clusters are driving local governments and private partners to further strengthen infrastructure and connectivity in the region. While manufacturers are already connected to the world through international airports in Queretaro, Aguascalientes, and Leon Guanajuato, and strong rail infrastructure, the states are doing more to further that connectedness. The Centro-Bajío-Occidente Alliance (ACBO) – a coalition of the manufacturing states of Querétaro, Jalisco, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí and Aguascalientes – is pushing to develop additional infrastructure to support local economic development.

Private partners have also developed state-of-the-art industrial parks and facilities that support manufacturing activity. "El Bajío has become one of the leaders in industrial space availability, with approximately 110 industrial parks across the entire region," Barriga reports. "Guanajuato and Queretaro are ranked 6th and 7th in industrial inventory in Mexico."

Prospective workforce

The region's perspective market of 45 million people within 215 miles also plays an important factor in attracting manufacturers to the region. 

"Young, well-trained people, are available all over Bajío," Barriga says. "In some regions, you can even find bilingual people in the technician levels."

To support the local industry, a number of prestigious public and private Mexican universities have located their campuses in Bajío. International universities have also put down roots, including Arkansas State University, which has a campus in Queretaro. 

As a result of its growing manufacturing industry, technical schools have become a region staple as well. "There are numerous technical centers in the region, which have become a source of excellent technicians for highly specialized industries," Barriga says. 

The Aeronautical University in Queretaro is one that bridges all the above offerings. The public university was initially launched in support of Bombardier in 2006 and today is well-established as the region's top training facility. Each year it turns out skilled personnel with bachelor's and master's degrees, PhDs, and the technical training needed to work on aerospace factory floors. 

What's more, Barriga notes, as manufacturing has strengthened throughout the region, it's developed a strong industrial working culture. This built-in manufacturing expertise supports many companies in rapidly finding labor and coming online. 

Enjoy the region's quality of life

Of course, foreign manufacturers moving into Mexico also select the Bajío region for the quality of life it offers expatriates. 

"There's a large international community living here because of the fabulous weather, job opportunities, education opportunities, surroundings, and the warmth of the region's people," Barriga says. 

For companies ready to explore the possibilities the Bajío offers, Tetakawi can support your journey. Whether you need assistance with site selection, shelter services, or soft-landing services, we have a solution prepared for you. Contact us today to start moving your manufacturing vision forward. 

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