Hundreds of American Industries, European Manufacturers, and Asian firms selected Mexicali to Manufacture in Mexico. This city of approximately 1 million people is consistently rated as the best border manufacturing location.
Although Mexicali was one of the first border cities to facilitate maquiladora manufacturing and assembly facilities beginning in 1966, it was overshadowed by the boom of Asian companies locating in Tijuana, two hours west of Mexicali and immediately adjacent to San Diego.
Mexicali attracted Fortune 500 style companies and their suppliers as location decisions were made based on the best manufacturing platform rather than quality of life for expats Mexicali took off in the later 1990s as manufacturers discovered the excellent infrastructure for heavy industry, stable labor force, and proximity to Southern California and Tijuana.
In the early 2000's Mexicali lost many companies to the lower-cost labor in Asia and with the obsolescence of the CRT. However the city has very successfully reinvented itself as a burgeoning aerospace cluster city.
While some Mexican border towns can have very challenging logistics, Mexicali is an exception. Wide, well thought out avenues serve most of the city and the commercial border crossing is among the country's most modern. The city is situated two hours from San Diego and about three and a half hours from Los Angeles. Southern California based companies select Mexicali for this reason while others make use of the quick access to Highway 8 which offers east-west transport.
Mexicali is home to manufacturing companies with names and brands known around the world but recently has become the situs of the aerospace industry as it competes for this distinction with Chihuahua and Queretaro. Goodrich, Honeywell and Gulfstream are among the biggest names in this sector while their supply chain follows.
Infrastructure anywhere in Mexico can be a challenge as the Federal Government owns the electrical system and hasn't had the funds to keep up with the growth of the manufacturing sector over the past 15 years. That said, Mexicali has more available power and water for light, medium or heavy industry than most Mexican manufacturing cities.
The biggest trend is the aircraft industry. Economic development groups, both private and state, are competing furiously to attract companies with high skill level jobs to the city. Medical device manufacturers are looking strongly at Mexicali as their formerly preferred location of Tijuana becomes more and more impossible from a cost and infrastructure standpoint. Southern California companies are moving to Mexicali at an increasing rate as the economic turbulence in the U.S. and California business regulation becomes the final straw in making a relocation decision for manufacturing firms.
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