MEXICO CITY - Mexico auto sales continued to climb in April. The market registered a 35.5 percent increase over the same month last year.
All automakers were up, except for Chrysler. Its sales dropped 9.8 percent for the month and are down 10.1 percent for the year.
GM continued to lead the market. It had a sales increase of 31.9 percent over April 1996 and for the year holds 28.4 percent of the vehicle market. It wants more. 'We want more than a 30 percent market share in 1997,' said Gary Cowger, president of GM Mexico. Sales of the Chevy Joy/Swing small cars are helping GM the most; in April, their sales were up 145.3 percent.
Among the major players, April's big gainer was Nissan. Its sales rose 99.8 percent for the month. The Mexican-built Tsuru helped the increase with a 215.9 percent gain over April 1996. For the year, Nissan is No. 2 in the market, with 25,502 sales.
'Our customer loyalty and finance plans are working out,' said Jose Hernandez, sales manager at Nissan Tollocan, a dealership in Toluca. He explained that 80 percent of the sales are made by return Nissan customers.
Ford, too, had a strong month, with a 42.9 percent rise. Volkswagen was up 36.4 percent, with Golf and Jetta sales that more than tripled. But the company remains in fifth place.
Among newcomers, Honda posted the biggest jump. It sold 503 cars for the month - up from just 59 a year ago. BMW doubled its sales, to 84. And Audi registered its first sales ever in Mexico: 11.
Production for the local market continued to rise. Mexican automakers built a total of 27,670 cars and trucks for the month, up 55.1 percent from April 1996 levels. Export output in April rose 3.5 percent from April 1996.
Through the first four months, Mexican factories built 414,328 vehicles. That's up 4.5 percent from 1996.