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Transformation in the Automotive Wiring Harness Industry: The Impact of Electric Vehicles and Conflicts in Europe

Transformation in the Automotive Wiring Harness Industry: The Impact of Electric Vehicles and Conflicts in Europe

Mexico is one of the world’s leading suppliers of wiring harnesses for the automotive industry. However, the arrival of electric vehicles and conflicts in Europe have revealed the need to transform this essential component.

The wiring harnesses are essential for the operation of vehicles, whether they are combustion, hybrid, or electric. Mexico is among the main suppliers of this component, which employs tens of thousands of people, mainly in the northern border of the country.

These harnesses connect the cables from numerous parts of the vehicle, facilitating its operation. An average car can contain around 80 kilograms of harnesses inside, with up to 5 km of wires connecting from the seats to the windows.

The shortage of harness supply in Europe due to the war in Ukraine has led some companies to seek to accelerate the production of new-generation harnesses, made almost entirely by machines and designed for electric vehicles, prompting consideration of transforming the way and locations where harnesses are manufactured.

The transfer of automotive harness production capacity to other regions, such as North America, where Mexico dominates due to the low cost of its maquiladora industry in the North, has become an option. In addition, vehicle electrification is a growing trend, with manufacturers such as Ford, Audi, BMW, General Motors, Nissan and Stellantis moving into the production of electric or hybrid vehicles.

The new generation of wire harnesses, which are lighter and require less human labor, are being used by electric car manufacturers such as Tesla, presenting a challenge for global harness companies, which have little time to work on redesigns that will enable them to sell next-generation harnesses to electric vehicle manufacturers.

In Mexico, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua is recognized as the harness capital of the world, with a manufacturing volume equivalent to harness production in all of Southeast Asia and around Europe including Africa. The wire harness market is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 5% by 2022.