Two for Tuesday: Consumer Goods You Didn’t Know Were Made in Latin America

“Made in China.” Sound all too familiar?

China usually comes to mind when thinking of outsourced manufacturing. The Chinese manufacture and export everything from shoes to personal computers. However, Latin America is quickly becoming the next big market to watch out for, as their growing labor force is creating a booming industry in areas such as retail and healthcare. Latin America is also a big manufacturing hub for some surprising consumer goods, so on this Two for Tuesday, we will be looking at two surprising goods made in Latin America.

Cars

Latin America seemingly holds the key to the future of the global automobile industry. While Brazil has been the Latin American leader in foreign car manufacturing for years, Mexico is actually in a position to surpass Brazil in this industry. With extremely liberal free trade agreements, car makers such as Nissan, Audi and Honda are investing and building factories in Mexico; for example, Audi is building a $1.3 billion factory to assemble their luxury Q5 SUV. Because of Mexico’s free trade agreements, 80% of the cars built in Mexico are exported to other countries, two-thirds of which go to the United States. Experts predict Mexico will produce 3.2 million vehicles this year while Brazil should produce 3.17 vehicles.

Baseballs

Baseball might be America’s past time, but Rawlings baseballs (the official baseballs of the MLB) are not made in the United States of America. Instead, these baseballs are stitched up by workers Turrialba, Costa Rica–the only factory authorized to supply baseballs to the MLB. Up until 1987, Haiti housed the world’s sole Rawlings factory, but the baseball goods company decided to open up a second factory in Costa Rica when political unrest seemed like it was on its way in Haiti. In 1990, Rawlings was forced to shut down their Haiti, leaving the Costa Rican factory as the sole manufacturing plant. A single baseball only lasts a few pitches during a game before it needs to be switched out for a fresh ball, meaning that the Costa Rican factory makes 2.4 million baseballs a year and each of the 300 workers are required to produce 156 baseballs per week.

Cover Photo Source: American Spirit / Shutterstock.com

Jenny is a Junior Executive at SJG. She earned her BA in Psychology and a minor in Educational Studies in 2014 from Colgate University. Outside the office, Jenny loves to travel (usually to Disney World), bake and watch copious amounts of TLC.