Just beyond the gray cinderblock homes and thick brown dust of tiny San Jose Chiapa lies the promise of a shining new city where there once was only farmland, thanks to a $1.

3 billion Audi plant built in the middle of nowhere.

As San Jose Chiapa recedes from view along the highway to Vera-cruz, the pavement becomes smoother at the exit for Ciudad Modelo, or Model City, a master-planned community being developed by the government next to the 1,000-acre Audi plant and accompanying supplier park.

While President Donald Trump continues to threaten the Mexican auto industry with a trade war, officials in the surrounding state of Puebla are making their biggest bet ever that auto production is here to stay, and that it can be leveraged to bring forth not only manufacturing jobs but also a more orderly transition to an urban, industrialized economy.

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Master Planned Community Develops Around Audi's Mexican Assembly Plant But It Isn't For The Workers That Make $15 A Day

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