Mexican company gears up for sports car market

by Dave


Sometime in September, the first Mastretta MXT, a Mexican-designed, high-performance sports car, will roll out of a factory here, 30 miles west of Mexico City. Owners are promised an exhilarating experience when they hammer the accelerator.

The hand-built, rear-engine MXT accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Its designers say it’s built for people who itch to get off the street and onto the track. “We are targeting a niche,” said Jean-Paul Capin, the chief financial officer of Mastretta Cars, a division of Tecnoidea SAPI de CV, an engineering and design house based in Mexico City. The typical buyer will be a speed lover who has access to local raceways – and who has about $58,000 to spare.

“On the track, it’s a giant killer,” Capin said. “You can race against really high-end sports cars, Porsches and Corvettes, because of the power-to-weight ratio and the way the cars are set up. On the track, they are highly competitive against those cars at a fraction of the price.”

Few doubt Mexico’s broader automotive capabilities. Mexico is the world’s 10th biggest auto manufacturer, after China, Japan, the United States, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, India, France and Spain, in that order. Factories in Mexico pump out more than 2 million units a year. The cluster of associated industries is partly why Carlos and Daniel Mastretta thought they could make a go of it producing hand-built sports cars. Some 65 percent of the 1,900 components that go into the Mastretta MXT are available regionally, and the high labor costs of a hand-built car give them an edge in Mexico, where wages are low.

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