Mexican dealers want their government to stop illegal imports from the United States.
The trade is hurting new-car sales and is costing the government money, the dealers say.
'Dealers on the border are complaining about this situation,' said Alicia Hara, manager of Economic Studies at the Mexican auto dealers association. 'They are asking for our help.'
The trade group estimates that 1.3 million of the 13 million ve-hicles on Mexican roads are illegal. That means that 10 percent of the vehicles are not paying taxes and are hurting dealer sales - 'not to mention the illegal auto parts activities this is causing,' Hara said.
She points the finger at autos purchased in the United States, often by Mexicans working there. Once the vehicles enter Mexico, owners can get documents to hide the vehicle's origin.
Under Mexican laws, American cars are allowed to stay in Mexico for six months. But many never make it back across the border.
The dealer association counts 23 large, well-connected organizations that specialize in making illegal cars look like legal ones.
'People buy them up there because they are affordable and in good condition,' said Hara. 'This is why illegal vehicles are already in all the country.'
The northern state of Sonora has the worst problem, she said.
The dealer association wants Mexico to continue its closed-door policy on used cars.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, that ban will begin to be phased out in 2009 and disappear completely a decade later.
The association also wants a national registration number for each vehicle.
The registration could be handled by the dealers.