July 11, 2012
Nissan Mexicana President Jose Valls on Expansion in Aguascalientes
July 10 – Aguascalientes – As Nissan celebrated a historic event by setting the first stone of its new manufacturing complex in Aguascalientes, the Global Media Center caught up with Nissan Mexicana President Jose Valls to discuss the company’s plans in Mexico. Here’s what he had to say:
Q1. Why do you think Nissan chose to expand in Mexico?
Nissan Mexicana President Jose Valls:
Well, it’s basically because we are at the top of our capacity. The speed of the plant is at the maximum level and given the growth in the Mexican market and all of the region, we are at the point now where we cannot meet demand.
Fortunately demand is growing. The brand is in demand all across the region and we are at the point where we cannot meet that demand anymore. Thats why Mexico has been a place of growth along with the Americas, U.S., Brazil and the idea is to fulfill the demand that is growing all across the region and all the globe. From Mexico we are exporting to more than 100 countries.
Q2. Do you think Mexico is a smart place to keep growing?
The story is that for more than 50 years we are here and growing. We were here today at the groundbreaking ceremony just across the street and [Nissan Mexicana Vice President of Manufacturing] Armando Avila was reminding me that 30 years ago he was on the other side of the street performing the same ceremony when the engine plant started.
The commitment and the growth of Mexico has been demonstrated with the growth of the brand.
We have more than 25% share in the domestic market and, with the benefit of the customers in Mexico, they have been confirming that our decision is a right one.
Q3. Why do you think so many car companies are following Nissan’s lead and expanding operations in Mexico?
Mexico had been, usually, the number nine [auto] producer in the world. Now we are number seven. We used to be number nine exporter in the world. Now we are in fourth place, soon third place, in the world as an export hub.
The competitiveness of the talent in Mexico, besides the footprint of the manufacturing supplier base and the professionalism of the whole team and the commitment of the Mexicans in delivering quality. We are not the only ones who have recognized that. Automakers are following us and Mexico is definitely a place to be from the automaker perspective.
Q4. Why do you think this announcement garnered the attention and presence of the current President of Mexico Felipe Calderón?
It is very important not only for Nissan, not only for Aguascalientes, but for Mexico. With the biggest ever investment in Mexico, it is worth it for him to take the time here and make the commitment to the evolution of the project.
The public and the private sector have come together with one objective of growth. Its amazing and he is definitely supportive of our growth and of the automotive industry’s growth. He definitely has been supportive of Nissan’s growth in the region.
Q5. Do you expect the same amount of support from Mexico’s newly elected president?
Yes, definitely. The governor of Aguascalientes is part of the new administration that is taking over now. We have received a lot of support from this governor and definitely think the new administration will keep supporting Nissan’s investment in growth.