MEXICO CITY-- With manufacturing rates in Mexico rapidly increasing since last year, Mexico is fast becoming a world leader in the manufacturing business, according to a recentDow Jones Newswires story. In the first half of 2011, Mexico's production of automobiles has continued at a record pace resulting from significant demand from the Latin American market. Mexican output of cars and light trucks in the January-June period rose 14% to 1.23 million vehicles -- a record for the first half of any year in history, according to the Mexican Automobile Industry Association (AMIA).

Auto exports increased 15% also in the first half of 2011 to a record 1.02 million units. "Production in Mexico is absolutely being driven by exports, and exports continue to grow," AMIA's President Eduardo Solis said in an April news conference as reported byDow Jones Newswires viaFOX Business.

Mazda has been operating for several years already in Mexico with great success. In fact, Mazda recently announced an investment of $500 million to build a new plant in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato to build the Mazda2 and Mazda3 compact cars and engines, according to Reuters. The plant, which will have an output capacity of 140,000 vehicles per year, will help expand the company's Latin American operations. The plant, which plans to employ about 3,000 people at maximum capacity, is expected to be completed by 2013.

Noting the record in sales since he has moved his operation to Mexico, Mazda's CEO Takashi Yamanouchi said in a recentAutomotive Business Reviewarticle that its sales results have steadily improved since October of 2005, and in 2010 the company set a new record for both sales volume and market share.