At a time when American auto giants are under pressure to bring back production from Mexico to the U.S., Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu is planning an expansion of his modest presence in Mexico’s auto industry. Giant Motors, controlled by Slim’s financial services conglomerate, Inbursa, is in the process of manufacturing a made-in-Mexico electric vehicle with plans to launch it commercially next year, Forbes Mexico reported.
“We are developing a new Mexican electric vehicle that will not only be assembled [in Mexico], but also designed and modeled to meet the needs of Mexican consumers,” Elías Massri, Giant Motors’ CEO for Latin America told Forbes Mexico.
The vehicle, which will be designed by Giant Motors, will be manufactured in a joint venture with Moldex, a subsidiary of Grupo Bimbo, a Mexican-based multinational which is the world’s largest bread maker.
Giant Motors expects to complete a working prototype late this year to be able to market it in 2018. The company said it plans to introduce the car as an electric taxi in Mexico City, the nation’s densely populated capital where air pollution is a continuing concern.
Giant Motors will seek government funding and collaboration to help promote it as an environmentally-sound alternative.
Last week, Slim’s Giant Motors announced a 4.4 billion peso (around US$215 million), alliance with Chinese auto maker JAC Motors to manufacture vehicles in Mexico’s central state of Hidalgo.
JAC, or Jianghai Automobile Company, builds both trucks and passenger vehicles and has had a presence in Mexico since 2007.
Slim’s Inbursa will be the principal shareholder in the venture.
Grupo Bimbo, maker of Entenmann’s, Thomas’ English Muffins, Mrs. Baird’s breads and the Sara Lee brand (which Grupo Bimbo purchased in 2011), was co-founded in 1954 by Lorenzo Servitje.
Lorenzo Servitje, 98, passed away on Friday. The Mexican press reported that his funeral was attended by a number of Mexican billionaires and businessmen, including mining tycoon Alberto Bailleres and Grupo Carso Chairman Carlos Slim Domit (Slim Helu’s eldest son), as well as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, among other prominent business and political figures.
Daniel Servitje Montull, Lorenzo Servitje’s son, is Grupo Bimbo’s Chairman and CEO.