The Cuautitlan plant is being converted from its current production duties of building the F-Series pickup for Mexico and is instead being geared up to create small cars for the North American market. Ford also plans to release new commercial-vehicle engines from its Chihuahua engine plant, as well as investing in new transmissions via a joint partnership with Getrag to establish a transmissions plant in Guanajuato. The trio of Mexican investments by Ford are taking place in a bid to reduce production and export costs associated with creating a global car that can be sold in various regions.
The move to convert the Cuautitlan plant from pickups to small cars reflects a greater trend towards smaller vehicles. In fact, momentum in small-car sales is outpacing overall industry growth worldwide. Globally, small car sales have grown from 23 million units in 2002 to an estimated 38 million in 2012.