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Boom, Bust, ExodusThe Rust Belt, the Maquilas, and a Tale of Two Cities$
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Chad Broughton

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199765614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199765614.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 June 2021

Little Detroit, El Cártel, and Aguamiel

Little Detroit, El Cártel, and Aguamiel

(p.273) 17 Little Detroit, El Cártel, and Aguamiel
Boom, Bust, Exodus

Chad Broughton

Oxford University Press

The Second-Shifters Filed in slowly on a late Thursday afternoon. From the outside, the factory was a long (nearly a third of a mile), nondescript white box, baking silently in the desert sun of the Ramos Arizpe mountain valley. Inside, it was fairly dark and noisy, with long rows of metal-stamping machines, soldering stations, and assembly lines. Neat green pathways edged with yellow lines, stretching as far as the eye could see, marked the safe routes through. Full-sized and colorful cardboard cutouts of a smiling man and woman greeted workers, highlighting appropriate safety gear. The operators, an even mix of men and women, meandered down the green paths like high school students reluctantly heading to class. There were young men with sagging jeans and others with Def Leppard and Metallica T-shirts. One young man sported a fauxhawk. Another had a pony tail and looked slightly hungover. Many of the women wore tight-fitting jeans, some of them bejeweled. A large number appeared to be in their teens. The factory in Ramos Arizpe—a desiccated and spacious industrial valley just southwest of Monterrey, Nuevo León, and just north of Saltillo, Coahuila—was on a refrigerator continental divide. The Whirlpool, Maytag, and KitchenAid refrigerators they assembled here—including the side-by-side, which had been perfected and popularized by Galesburg’s Admiral plant fifty years earlier—flowed north. The hip and colorful Brastemp side-by-sides shipped south to Brazil. The enormous Whirlpool factory was only seven years old in 2013, but it paled in comparison to the massive Dodge Ram truck plant we visited on the other side of Saltillo. Planta Ensamble Saltillo had its own valley, rigorous security, and produced 220,000 trucks a year in nearly infinite combinations of engine sizes, body types, and colors. It sat next to a Chrysler engine factory and a DHL logistics center, which handled some of the highly complicated sequencing for the massive operation. From the back of an electric cart, we saw Dodge trucks start off as metal pieces, pressed out and shaped by hundreds of enormous robotic arms, jerking precisely from position to position, sending up sparks behind tall metal cages.

Keywords:   ARCA Continental, Chrysler, DHL, General Motors, Laredo-Nuevo Laredo, Mexican Drug War, Planta Ensamble Saltillo, Vietnam War, Whirlpool, Zetas

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