A strong sales month in July gave the Mexican auto industry a much-needed shot in the arm.
Sales were up 11.0 percent for the month vs. the year-ago period, the best showing of 2003. But through seven months, sales were running 2.4 percent behind the first seven months of 2002.
Nissan was the month's volume leader with 20,013 sales, a 12.7 percent hike over July 2002. General Motors saw sales rise 5.1 percent to 18,226. Volkswagen was up 14.5 percent to 15,958, and Ford sales rose 2.1 percent to 12,937 units.
On the down side, production took a big hit in July, dropping 19.8 percent over July 2002. For the first seven months, the industry has seen a 13.6 percent decline.
GM's production was down 39.7 percent - from 46,105 units in July 2002 to 27,807 last month.
DaimlerChrysler's July production slipped 31.4 percent, while Ford's was down 19.8 percent. Nissan production declined 4.6 percent, but VW saw its production rise 22.9 percent for the month.
One other note for automotive history buffs. July was the last month VW built the old-style Beetle, an instantly recognizable design around the world for nearly 50 years. In the final month, VW built 1,441 Beetles - down from 1,501 the previous July.