The Mexican market ended the century on a high note in 1999.
Light-vehicle sales reached 665,783. That was 3.5 percent above their year-ago mark and the second-highest total of the decade, according to Automotive News data.
Last year also marked the fourth straight year of increasing vehicle sales in Mexico following the market's collapse in 1995.
December was especially strong. A total of 99,893 vehicles was sold, an 18.3 percent increase over December 1998.
Among the five biggest automakers, Volkswagen had the biggest increase of the year, up 13.7 percent.
Ford and General Motors had slight gains. Nissan and DaimlerChrysler had slight decreases.
Newer players to the market had significant gains, but because of their low volume they contributed little to overall volume.
Honda continues to make the biggest gains in terms of volume. It sold 18,859 cars for the year, a 50.5 percent increase over 1998.
The sales high for the decade was 676,176, in 1992.
At that time, Automotive News counted wholesale sales; now it counts retail sales. But the retail and wholesale figures generally are closely matched.
The Mexican Automotive Industry Association listed tax discipline, low inflation, consumer confidence and automakers' finance plans among the reasons for the market's strength in 1999.
Another trend: Automakers are building a narrower mix of models in Mexico for the local market. They are relying on imports to add variety to their showrooms.
Mexican automakers built a record 1,075,422 vehicles for export last year, a 9.9 percent increase over 1998.
Total production rose 4.6 percent, to a total of 1,493,666 vehicles. December production increased 2.9 percent.