MEXICO CITY - Vehicle sales in Mexico rose last month after a one-month decline.
The Mexican market again showed how sensitive it is to the availability of low-cost financing. In November, zero percent financing plans returned and were expected to last through Decem-ber.
They helped wholesale deliveries increase 4.9 percent for the month. A month before, when the financing plans had been lifted, the market posted its first monthly decline in nearly three years, sinking 11.5 percent.
Yet November's rebound could be a short one. 'We will have tax increases starting in 1999, which mean that the first months will be tough,' said Juan Manuel Arriaga, president of the Mexican Automobile Dealers Association.
Despite the overall gain in November, two big automakers posted double-digit declines. Ford had the deepest drop, 54.3 percent. For the year, Ford sales have increased only 10.0 percent over the same 11 months of 1997. That's the smallest increase among Mexico's 'big five' automakers.
'At first we were very optimistic, but devaluation and interest rates did not help,' said Jose Machado, general director of Ford Mexico.
Volkswagen's sales fell 10.2 percent in November from the year-ago month. Still, VW remains the automaker with the sharpest sales gain this year, up 57.7 percent.
Nissan recorded the market's biggest gain for the month, 69.8 percent.
Through 11 months, its Tsuru (the old Sentra in the United States) is the best-selling car in the nation, with 54,442 sales.
Market leader General Motors had a 27.6 increase over November 1997. Chrysler gained 15.4 percent.
Production in Mexico's factories dipped 4.7 percent during the month. The decline was because of a 29.4 percent drop in production for the Mexican market. Output for export increased 7.7 percent.
So far this year, 1,313,407 vehicles have been built in Mexico, a 5.9 percent increase.