Most people outside of Mexico have never heard of Aguascalientes. But in the auto industry, this city of 1 million residents is known as ground zero for Nissan's expansion plans in the Americas.
This week the Japanese automaker is opening its second final assembly plant in Aguascalientes, giving Nissan as many final assembly plants in Mexico as it has in the U.S.
"Mexico is quickly becoming the fastest export hub in terms of vehicle production virtually anywhere in the planet," said Michael Robinet, a director with IHS Automotive.
Nissan is not the only automaker expanding production in Mexico.
Honda, Mazda and Audi are adding assembly lines in the country, which has shot past Canada to become the second-largest auto producer in North America.
Mexico is on pace to build 3.15 million vehicles this year, which represents 19 percent of all cars and trucks made in North America.
Ford's assembly plant in Hermosillo is among the company's most productive in the world.
"Mexico has proven for a long time [that] ... it's a fantastic world-class-quality operation," said James Farley, Ford's executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service.
Lower costs fuel Mexican auto boom
Mexico is one of the fastest-growing locations anywhere for auto assembly and parts production.
Calsonic Kansei, which supplies control panels and exhaust systems for Nissan, Mazda and General Motors, has just expanded its operations in Aguascalientes. The Japanese company is increasing to 3,100 workers from 1,400 to keep up with demand from Mexico's auto production.
"The growth here reminds me of China in the early '90s," said Bharat Vennapusa, chief operating officer at Calsonic.