The number of U.S. cars being made in Mexico has grown this year, despite President Trump’s stern warning to U.S. automakers to keep factory jobs in America, according to a study released Friday.
Buoyed by strong demand for SUVs and pickups, automakers produced 16 percent more light vehicles in Mexico during the first six months of 2017 compared to the same period last year, according to an analysis.
The data also shows that one in five cars built in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) zone, which includes Mexico, Canada and the U.S., come from Mexico. That is an increase from when the U.S. auto market was reliant on Mexico during the financial crisis.
Some versions of Fiat Chrysler’s Ram and Chevrolet’s Silverado, two of the best-selling vehicles in America, are built in Mexico.
The latest data also shows that U.S. light-vehicle manufacturing fell 5 percent during the first six months of this year compared to a year earlier, leading some automakers to cut workers altogether or diminish their hours.
Throughout the campaign and since being elected president, Trump has lambasted automakers and urged them to produce more cars in the U.S.
Since then, Ford moved to invest in a Michigan factory instead of building a new assembly plant in Mexico. GM and Ford also pledged to invest billions of dollars in adding jobs in U.S. factories over the next few years.
The vehicle-manufacturing business will likely be a major negotiating point as the Trump administration works to overhaul NAFTA.
Talks between the U.S., Mexico and Canada are set to begin next month.
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