Light-vehicle sales in Mexico rose slightly in February, ending a three-month skid.
A total of 81,816 vehicles were sold. That was up 2.6 percent from February 2002.
Sales had fallen 5.2 percent in November, 4 percent in December and 7.7 percent in January. For the year, sales are off 2.8 percent from their 2002 pace.
Newcomers helped account for the February increase, if only by handfuls. Mitsubishi posted 97 sales in its first month in Mexico.
Toyota, in its initial release of sales results, posted 419 sales for February and 462 for January.
Another new player for 2003, Britain's MG Rover, tallied 50 sales in February on top of the 65 previously announced for January.
Sales of Mexico's five biggest automakers were erratic in February. Ford Motor Co. and Nissan had double-digit gains; DaimlerChrysler and General Motors had double-digit declines. Volkswagen, with a 3.9 percent gain, was the stable one.
DaimlerChrysler's 19.3 percent fall came on top of a 25.3 percent decline in January, a 32.3 percent drop in December and a 14.1 percent decline in November.
While sales rose, production in Mexico fell. Output of 129,237 was 8.7 percent below February 2002 levels, and the industry is down 8 percent for the year.
Among the big five, only GM had a production gain in February. Its output rose 6.2 percent for the month and 17.5 percent for the year.
Three out of every four vehicles built in Mexico are built for export.