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Fender’s Mexico Plant Celebrates 25 years

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) celebrated the 25th anniversary of its factory in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, on Friday, July 20. Opened in 1987 and initially used for nothing more than to package guitar strings the Ensenada factory began to build guitars in 1989. The plant was destroyed in February, 1994 when, during a routine maintenance procedure, a spark in a spray booth vent caught fire and reduced the 22,000-square-foot factory to ashes in less than one hour. The plant was rebuilt from the ground up nearly 4-months later.

In the 1990’s production was ramped up and output from the Ensenada plant replaced many of the guitars made by and imported into the US from Fender Japan. Fender’s plant in Ensenada is wholly owned by FMIC were Fender Japan has always been a partnership with Fender and other companies. Today the Ensenada factory makes a great many of Fender’s lower cost guitars. Fender also builds guitars and amplifiers in China, Indonesia, India, and Korea.

We are very proud to have reached such a significant milestone,” said Sergio Villanueva, senior vice president, global manufacturing, for Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. “The level of craftsmanship produced in this factory is a testament to its success.

More than 1000 guests, including local dignitaries, company executives and factory employees, commemorated the facility’s 25-year anniversary with spectacular fireworks displays, live mariachi music, performances by Escuelita Fender, Grupo Fandango, and the popular Norteño band Intocable.

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6 Responses to “Fender’s Mexico Plant Celebrates 25 years”
  1. They have made some good affordable guitars there. When I lived in Guadalajara the guitar community said that it was bad for traditional instruments since a lot of luthiers from Paracho left to work at Fender in Ensenada so acoustic gut string guitars fell in quality.

  2. Arbiter says:

    “The plant was destroyed in February, 1994 when, during a routine maintenance procedure, a spark in a spray booth vent caught fire and reduced the 22,000-square-foot factory to ashes in less than one hour. The plant was rebuilt from the ground up nearly 4-months later.”

    A lot of folks here spray their own guitars, never thinking that the stuff is incredibly flammable. Be careful, guys. You wouldn’t believe how easily you can have a finish fire/explosion if you’re not careful. I remember when the Fender fire happened; they were quite fortunate that no one was killed.

  3. soulman969 says:

    There are some of us who believe the models produced in 1994-95 right after the plant was rebuilt are some of the best quality instruments they ever made in Ensenada.

  4. wabashslim wabashslim says:

    There have been times when, looking at the Fender stock in the local GC that the Mexican workmanship was far superior to most of the USA-made guitars. I have to seriously wonder sometimes which factory is really turning out the “budget” product. Then again, there are times when the situation is reversed. Happy Birthday Fen-Mex!

  5. tele_luvver says:

    Well, I will tell you this: I have a 95 Mexican Tele that is my number 1 guitar, and I have had many guitars from many makers. A good guitar is a good guitar no matter where it originates from. Great company!

    • rocktestr says:

      I too am a big fan of the mim Fenders. I have and have had both American and MIM and the MIM’s are getting better all the time. I bought a black Standard Tele less than a year ago and last night I ordered a black paisley which is very popular and on backorder. I also have a Squier Affinity Buterscotch that just may have the best neck of any guitar I’ve ever owned. I can’t see paying the big price of the Am models.

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