Mexico president offers plan to keep automotive sector jobs

During his remarks at the inauguration of the new Daimler Trucks North America plant in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico's President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa announced two new programs designed to improve market conditions for heavy-duty truck builders, as well as key automobile manufacturers.

The first program is designed to protect approximately 60,000 automotive sector jobs by helping manufacturers avoid layoffs. Calderón said 60 of the largest manufacturers — including Daimler, Ford, and General Motors — in the automotive sector had signed up with the program as of mid-February.

“We have allocated 2.5 billion pesos (approximately $160.5 million at an exchange rate of 15.5 pesos to $1) to the program,” Calderón said. “Our goals are to keep workers on the job, provide relief from the economic crisis, and position Mexico for economic recovery.”

Under the plan, the Mexican federal government will pay a third of the worker's wage, the employer will pay another third, and the worker will absorb the final third.

Calderón also called on the Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz Mateos to develop a financial incentive program that would enable independent truck owners to replace older vehicles with new ones. “Trucking is vital to Mexico, and we want to help the industry grow,” Calderón said.

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