MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -- Mexico's auto industry output and exports soared in December as the sector continued a dramatic rebound after months of weakness, giving the economy a boost.
Production hit 136,929 vehicles in December, up 33.3 percent from the same month a year earlier, while exports climbed 63.5 percent to 119,710 units, the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA) said on Tuesday.
After a poor start to 2005, major car and truck builders have increased production at Mexican plants in recent months with new models for export to the United States.
With that recovery, Mexico's overall production for 2005 rose 6.6 percent and exports climbed 8.4 percent.
AMIA chief Cesar Flores forecast exports and output would rise about 15 percent this year.
The industry, including auto parts, accounts for roughly a fifth of Mexican industrial activity.
Ford Motor Co. is ramping up production of mid-sized cars, including the mass-market Ford Fusion model, at its assembly plant in Hermosillo.
DaimlerChrysler AG last year launched its new mega cab Dodge Ram pickup truck in the northern city of Saltillo, and Volkswagen AG is building a new station wagon in Mexico.
Other automakers operating in Mexico include General Motors and Toyota Motor Co.