With one-third of the year in the books, the Mexican auto industry's hopes for a million-unit sales year are slipping away.
Through April, sales were running 3.0 percent behind the year-ago period. A 9.1 percent decline in April sales didn't help.
The numbers broke down this way: 314,233 units sold in January-April vs. 323,906 in the comparable 2002 period. In April alone, dealers sold 70,929 cars and light trucks vs. 78,010 vehicles in April 2002.
The industry has never hit the million-unit mark. But it came close in a record 2002, falling just 22,443 units short.
Sales of volume leader General Motors dropped 22.1 percent in April and were 18.0 percent lower for the first four months.
Volkswagen saw its sales fall 1.0 percent in April, though they are up 5.3 percent for the year.
Ford Motor Co. sales dipped 2.1 percent for the month, but they are up 8.7 percent for the January-April period.
At DaimlerChrysler, sales were down 16.7 percent in April and were 19.5 percent lower for the first four months.
The bright spot was Mercedes-Benz import sales, which were up 19.6 percent in April.
The best-selling car domestically in April was the Nissan Tsuru, with 3,957 units sold. Still, Tsuru sales were down 48.8 percent for the month. On the other hand, sales of the Nissan Platina were up a noticeable 340.8 percent to 3,747.
April's production picture was much like the sales picture - negative. Production dropped 27.4 percent, dragging the year-to-date total to 13.0 percent behind the year-ago period.
Vehicles built for export had the biggest impact on the decline. They were down 24.3 percent for April and 10.9 percent for the first four months.
None of the Big Five manufacturers escaped the trend.
GM's April production dropped 7.8 percent - though trucks produced for export rose 5.1 percent in the period. Ford was down 20.2 percent.
Also during April, DaimlerChrysler production declined 40.6 percent, VW was down 49.0 percent, and Nissan dropped 26.1 percent.