MEXICO CITY -- Light-vehicle sales in Mexico rose 18 percent in September to 131,443 vehicles, shattering previous records for the month and defying expectations that the market would cool off this year after a record 2015.
Sales through September this year have increased 18 percent to a record 1.12 million units, the Mexico Automobile Distributors Association said Thursday.
Guillermo Rosales, co-director of the dealers association, said that sales are being driven by subcompact and compact cars, which for the first time are less expensive in Mexico than they are in the U.S. and Canada. Rosales attributed the shift to the maturing of the Mexican auto industry, which has created competition and lower costs.
The booming sales of small cars in Mexico are keeping some North American factories humming at a time when the U.S. auto market has shifted heavily toward crossovers and other light trucks.
Mexican auto production rose 2.4 percent in September to 285,344 vehicles -- a record for the month -- and exports increased by 8.8 percent to 235,612 units, also a record, according to the Mexican Automotive Industry Association. Through September, auto production rose 0.9 percent to 2.58 million, but exports slipped 1.5 percent to 2.05 million.
Light-vehicle exports to the U.S. are higher by about 6 percent through September but exports to other Latin American nations have fallen sharply because of the profound economic crisis in top economies such as Brazil and Argentina.