Last year was another record year in Mexico.
Sales of light vehicles were up a healthy 7.6 percent, smashing the 2000 record. Nearly a million cars and trucks — 918,835 to be exact — were sold. The 2000 total: 853,775 units.
But production was another story. For the first time since 1995, production declined from year-before levels as the U.S. market softened. Though factories cranked out 1.83 million vehicles — the second best year in Mexican auto industry history — production dropped 3.3 percent. In 2000, Mexico produced a record 1.89 million vehicles.
Several automakers posted double-digit sales gains in Mexico during 2001.
Sales of DaimlerChrysler vehicles were up 17.1 percent, to 134,228 units in 2001.
Ford sales rose 12.7 percent, to 164,230 vehicles last year.
Nissan sales also increased 10.1 percent, to 190,537 units in 2001.
Sales leader General Motors saw its sales slip 5.0 percent for the year, to 205,726 vehicles.
The best-selling vehicle in Mexico last year was the Nissan Tsuru, with 96,865 units sold. That was up 14.8 percent from its 2000 mark.
Imports continue to account for a tad more than half of all sales. They were up 17.5 percent to 472,983 vehicles.
Sales of vehicles built for sale in Mexico slipped 1.2 percent.
On the production side, the 20 percent sales slowdown in the United States of the once-hot Volkswagen Beetle, which is built in Puebla, Mexico, was noticeable. Production dropped 22.5 percent, to 115,830 last year.
GM posted a production gain in Mexico last year. GM built 447,897 light vehicles, up 0.7 percent from the year before.
Ford production declined 14.6 percent, to 239,690. DaimlerChrysler production was essentially unchanged.