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Is "Made in Mexico" necessarily a bad thing?

After reading many posts and reviews that say something to the effect of:

"...and this year's automotive brand X is (Japanese/German/...fill in the blanks) built instead of Mexican built, so that should address any reliability issues..."

It leaves me wondering - is that truly the case nowadays? Or is that due to people's perceptions, biases, or worse?....

I'm beginning to think that "Made in Mexico" is not as bad as people want to believe.

Do you think that Mexican workers are inferior (and please be honest)? Before you harshly criticize me or accuse me of bringing up a discussion that (apparently) no one wants to touch, think about this:

If you had a new home built within the past 5 years or so, there is a 99% chance that it was built with Mexican labor. I haven't heard any reports of a mass selloff of new homes (especially McMansions) lately. Food for thought...
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Comments

  • gasman1gasman1 Posts: 321
    A VW plant in Mexico made a lot of sense back in the 60's. They built bugs that were sold locally and exported both North and South. Foreign makers are now building plants in the U.S. for local and export sales. I have a problem with closing local jobs for a plant in Mexico only to have those cars shipped back to us for purchase.

    As for quality, normally a primary concern for me, it trails significantly as a purchase consideration due to the U.S. jobs lost. I'm sure they have great and poor workers just as we do. However, I personally won't consider a Mexico or China built vehicle.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,901
    It's strictly a management issue, not a geographic one. If the workers are trained and motivated properly, you could build a Lexus just about anywhere. One could argue that some countries have better "work ethics" than others, but here again, good management picks the cream of the crop and trains them.

    In the USA in World War II, Cadillac hired workers (mostly women) from the absolutely poorest sections of Detroit and they built precision bomb sights with great success. It was one of the first uses of film strips to train workers in step by step assembly.

    MODERATOR

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,629
    I agree with Mr S. but it is fair to say that some companies have a spotty record in producing quality cars South of the Border, namely Ford and Volkswagen.

    I advise potential VW buyers to stick with those models with VINs beginning with a W (for Germany)i.e.Passats and Diesel Jettas.

    I have been accused on these pages of racism for that but I would give the same advice to someone considering a Toureg (made by white Europeans in Bratislava, Slovakia). It's worth
    noting that BMW and Mercedes have both had problems with quality control on models made in the good ol' USA, compared to their couterparts from Germany.

    FOR stats are just statistics but my experience is that they have some basis in reality. I don't believe made in Mexico is neccessarily bad but it does raise a caution flag IMO.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I have many hispanic friends, but even they have agreed with me that "corporate america" exploits their short comings to make a larger than neccessary profit on the product they want to produce. I know it sounds sometimes like I'm a racist, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I hate it when a certain populus exploited for gain. It would be one thing if "made in mexico" meant good jobs for those people, but in reality it's a term to sell out america's middle class, for the gain of the elites, in our country. It makes me personally sick, and one would think us being a society of morales, this wouldn't be tolerated. Quite the opposite is reality and as long as a dollar is going to be made it will continue until the current political system is overhualed as Mr. Lou Dobbs says. :sick:

    I unfortunately gotta agree with Lou :cry:

    Rocky
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,168
    If those jobs going to Mexico paid well, there would be no reason for illegal immigrants to pour over our southern border. I guess all those new Mexican plants pay so poorly, even a menial minimum wage job in the U.S. is preferable to a factory job in Mexico. I understand that plants owned by U.S. companies actually pay worse than those run by domestic Mexican companies. Rather than booming towns springing up around the maquildoras (sp?), there are instead shanties. The pollution is unbelievable. The Rio Grande is practically an open sewer. I've heard of horror stories of rape and murder of female workers by supervisors in these plants.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    We've heard very similar story's and I know people from Mexico, here legally and they've told me story's.

    Rocky
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,629
    As one who noted reports of dubious quality in some models assembled in Mexico, I note that recently Consumer Reports says quality of the new Ford Fusion, assembled in Hermosillo, Mexico matches that of well-known Japanese brand vehicles.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Well that plant has alot of automation, thus a huge reduction in human error. That is one of my major reason why I probably could never own a MKZ, Fusion, Milan, even though my wife has begged me for one of the above.

    Rocky
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    My 1996 Dodge Ram 3500 was built in Mexico (Lago Alberto, outside of Mexico City). It lasted longer than all of my previous vehicles combined. Definitely the best thing I had ever driven/owned. So it's with no surprise that my 2005 Ram 3500, also Mexican-built (Saltillo), has surpassed everything I liked about my 96.

    In contrast, the two trucks I had before that (1990 and 1993 Ford F-150s, built in Kansas City) spent too much of their time in various service bays. The 93 had more brake jobs than oil changes in the 4 years I had it, and required a thorough front suspension repair after hitting a rough railroad crossing.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    Why is this different than made in Canada? Out on the net there are pictures of the Ford Hermi plant. Very, very clean and modern plant. Fusion/Milan are knows for great fit/finish quality. It is already known that even the VW plant there is now producing great quality Jetta/Bug vehicles. Made in Mexico is no different than made in Canada.
    For the person who won't by made in Mexico, but will buy from a Japanese transplant here in the U.S. How does this make any sense?? The profit from the vehicle still goes back to Japan ;)
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "The profit from the vehicle still goes back to Japan."

    The profit goes to the company and their shareholders, wherever they may be. And the company INVESTS those profits in things like R&D and new plant construction/expansion.

    So, when a company like Ford INVESTS money to build a plant in Mexico, this would be an example of profits earned by Ford being spent in.....Mexico. And, when a company like Toyota INVESTS money to build a plant in Texas, this would be an example of profits earned by Toyota being spent in.....America.

    The profits go WHEREVER a company invests them; they don't necessarly go into a vault at the address of the home company.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    Until Mexico has a robust economy that equals ours, we will have guest workers coming across the border looking for the better life. My 1999 Suburban built in Mexico was a better vehicle overall fit and finish than my current 2005 GMC PU built in Indiana. My previous 1993 Chevy PU built in Canada was also a better built vehicle. I do not blame that on the US workers as much as the politics pushing the automotive technology.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    GM is outsourcing most of its parts to Delphi Mexico which is currently Mexico's largest employer. Six more plants in Saltillo area and northern Mexico will replace a lot of their Ohio operations.

    (Hint to Delphi Execs: Don't review your confidential Powerpoint presentations on a commercial flight. Also, don't go to maquiladora seminars and brag how quickly you can relocate jobs to Mexico.)

    Personally, if given the choice, I would prefer vehicles produced by CAW workers over UAW workers (or the Mexican plants) in terms of quality control.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,668
    And the payroll, payroll taxes, etc. of the transplants go to where? The blue collar USA worker (and some white collars too.) The big question is: Which is the lessor evil - a Japanese plant producing vehicles in the USA and employing US citizens, or Ford/GM producing vehicles in Mexico but sending some money back to the shareholders?
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,348
    I'd rather have a Japanese car built in the USA rather than a USA brand built in Mexico because of the pay going to th e workers and the taxes going to our government.

    That said, I own two USA built Japanese cars now (an Accord built in Ohio and an Odyssey built in Alabama) and they are great. However I also once owned a Mexico built Chrysler Sebring convertible and it was very well screwed together.

    I think the argument that it's all in the selection and training of personnel is correct. VWs built in Mexico tend to be horror stories while Fusions, PT Cruisers, KC's truck all seem to be doing OK.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    Years ago when my boss worked at a Mercedes Dealership and he wanted to lease a C-class as a run around car he asked the service people which factory made the best C-classes.

    They all said the brazilan C-classes were better then the German built ones by far. There reasoning was that the guy in Brazil had more incentive to do a good job then the guy in Germany because if they guy in Brazil lost his job he would be living on the street. If the guy in German lost his job it wasn't that big of a deal because the union and the German gov't would take care of him.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,700
    britishrover has come up with some interesting ideas about vehicle production quality. I believe the above is correct and a worker with incentive to do a good job will do a better job. Unions don't necessarily produce good workers.

    A company that will compensate an employee and give them some hope is a gem of a company in my mind.

    VW/Germany is a blank slate of a company and I would not tread on their soil for a rig. Plainly and simply I don't trust their quality. I lump Mercedes-Benz in with VW in this regard. Kia is light-years ahead of VW in this regard, friends.

    Japanese and South Korean brands are the best ones to buy, bar none. The domestics are working hard but don't offer enough soon enough. GM will probably be all right but I don't know about the rest of them. Chrysler may become orphaned soon.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    VW/Germany is a blank slate of a company and I would not tread on their soil for a rig. Plainly and simply I don't trust their quality. I lump Mercedes-Benz in with VW in this regard. Kia is light-years ahead of VW in this regard, friends.

    I simply can't agree with that sorry.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    to put this.
    Today I visited a Japanese transplant company that is expanding with tax breaks given to them by the state. As I toured the plant I noticed most of the tooling was made in Japan, parts from Japan, event the metal fabrication was done in Japan, tubing from Japan, piping from Japan, sealants and chemicals from Japan should I go on?. As I met people I also noticed all the installation was being done by Japanese vendors. I wish I could divulge a company name, site and even show pictures but if someone came across this information they could easily track it to me. So, for all those who think because their Honda is made in Ohio.. I sure wish you could see what I saw you would for sure change your tune.. :cry:
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Good post Pal !!!! ;)

    Rocky
  • the cars you owned are an obvious biased argument toward your point in saying that cars built in mexico are bad.

    "VWs built in Mexico tend to be horror stories while Fusions, PT Cruisers, KC's truck all seem to be doing OK."

    "tend to be horror stories?" "KC's truck all seem to be doing OK " your points to defend your argument are far to generalized, provide some factual data to support your arguments. perhaps statistics showing the lifespan of vehicles built in mexico as opposed to vehicles built in mexico after a 5 year period.

    even then it is not a valid argument. there are engineers that travel from germany (volkswagen) and nissan (japan) to mexico to train people and share ideas with the engineers in mexico. i worked with them at Delphi.
  • oh my god, you seriously should not be allowed to post.

    what does illegal immigration have to do the quality of cars manufactured in mexico. you just mixed those two topics in together out of nowhere!!

    "The pollution is unbelievable. The Rio Grande is practically an open sewer. I've heard of horror stories of rape and murder of female workers by supervisors in these plants."


    pollution? what are you even trying to argue, pick a damn topic already.

    rape and murder of female workers by supervisors in these plants.

    again, irrelevant. go post in a topic where they talk about crimes committed in mexico not why cars made in mexico are bad.

    FYI since you obviously dont know what you are talking about, i should not even write this seeing as it is an automobile website and i do apologize. the women raped and workers committing them are all drug related, if you get involved in that scene, you'll get sucked in and theres no way out.

    back to the topic

    Rather than booming towns springing up around the maquildoras (sp?), there are instead shanties."

    you don't know that, you are defending your argument based on facts you dont know. cd. juarez is a city where delphi has been around for a long time. yes there are shanties i wont deny that (i grew up there) but there is also a middle class and an upper class believe it or not, just like any other society.

    like i said, you should not be allowed to post.
  • As one who noted reports of dubious quality in some models assembled in Mexico, I note that recently Consumer Reports says quality of the new Ford Fusion, assembled in Hermosillo, Mexico matches that of well-known Japanese brand vehicles.

    well at least one person shows some hint to factual data. thanks alot for bringing up consumer reports, i will definitely check that out.
  • Why is this different than made in Canada? Out on the net there are pictures of the Ford Hermi plant. Very, very clean and modern plant. Fusion/Milan are knows for great fit/finish quality. It is already known that even the VW plant there is now producing great quality Jetta/Bug vehicles. Made in Mexico is no different than made in Canada.
    For the person who won't by made in Mexico, but will buy from a Japanese transplant here in the U.S. How does this make any sense?? The profit from the vehicle still goes back to Japan


    because there are ignorant people that generalize products made in mexico bad.
  • Today I visited a Japanese transplant company that is expanding with tax breaks given to them by the state. As I toured the plant I noticed most of the tooling was made in Japan, parts from Japan, event the metal fabrication was done in Japan, tubing from Japan, piping from Japan, sealants and chemicals from Japan should I go on?. As I met people I also noticed all the installation was being done by Japanese vendors. I wish I could divulge a company name, site and even show pictures but if someone came across this information they could easily track it to me. So, for all those who think because their Honda is made in Ohio.. I sure wish you could see what I saw you would for sure change your tune..

    wow we should share pictures sometime haha. i was sent to a plant in buffalo NY for about 2 weeks. boy do i have some stories. it doesnt matter where it's made, it's who the engineers work with and how they work with people and communicate their skills with one another, in the us, india, canada and even mexico
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    scape- your clear implication is that somehow giving a large co. 'tax breaks' to locate anywhere in this country is a BAD thing - when, in fact, all companies regardless of origin take advantage of the same thing - especially 'American' ones' Furthermore these municipalities do this only because they seem to understand what you apparently don't - there is a far more positive economic impact locating these jobs here than watching them disappear into the depths of Mexico (or wherever). It is far far far worse (for this country) that Ford ,for example, puts thousands and thousands of Americans out of work while at the same time they are building some new 'cities' in Mexico??? And yes I sure hope that the Honda factory uses some Japanese parts & tooling and some Japanese supervision to go along with all those Ohioans - something that is apparently needed to build superior cars!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    Welcome to the Forum,

    Your insight into our neighbors to the South is helpful. My 1998/99 Suburban was built in Mexico and was a very good vehicle. I would rather have the jobs go next door than across the Pacific.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "Today I visited a Japanese transplant company that is expanding with tax breaks given to them by the state. As I toured the plant I noticed most of the tooling was made in Japan, parts from Japan, event the metal fabrication was done in Japan, tubing from Japan, piping from Japan, sealants and chemicals from Japan should I go on?. As I met people I also noticed all the installation was being done by Japanese vendors. I wish I could divulge a company name, site and even show pictures but if someone came across this information they could easily track it to me. So, for all those who think because their Honda is made in Ohio.. I sure wish you could see what I saw you would for sure change your tune.. "

    Yeah I know you don;t like the Japanese car makers and your "buy American" person so you are gonna feel the way do natrually.
  • tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
    Hi there,

    You're new here and may not know how things work. That is ok. Coming in your first day and telling other members (some of whom have been here WAY longer than you) that their opinion is BS is kind of like a bird swooping in, pooping everywhere and flying away. It's just that, an opinion. I happen to agree (again an opinion here) that I'd rather my vehicles be built here even if it by a foreign owned company. Better than a domestic built out of the country. Americans are being employed and given jobs. NAFTA should have included Fair trade, not free trade.

    I heard a couple of months ago that Hershey's is closing one of its domestic plants to open one south of the border. Just leads to the Wallymart "give to to me 5 cents cheaper" mentality.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,574
    Are you referring to the California Hershey plant that's closing or the Canadian Hershey plant in Smith Falls that closing?

    When I wind up in a Mexican nursing home, I may change my mind about which "domestic" company to root for. :shades:

    Hershey stock has been in the dumper for several years now, so the plant closings either are coming too late or shouldn't be happening at all.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

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