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Mexico targets higher auto output, fewer used imports

Keywords: Tags  Mexican automotive industry, auto output, Amia, Eduardo Solis, Rodrigo Alonso

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s automotive industry is targeting annual production of 4 million vehicles within the next five years.

The expansion will be driven by several new automobile projects, Eduardo Solís, head of Mexican automotive association Amia, told AMM sister publication Steel First.

Vehicle output reached 2.7 million units during the first 11 months of 2012 and is expected to remain below 3 million units for the full year.

However, in 2013, Solís said he expects to see more than 3 million cars produced in Mexico, and that volume is only expected to rise as the Mexican auto industry seeks to increase its domestic sales and stop the import of used vehicles from the United States, he said.

The sector’s main challenge will be to improve domestic sales in order to avoid "a second lost decade," he said, noting that domestic sales remained at about the same level from 2001 to 2011. Last year, they totaled 900,000 units; in 2012, they are expected to be about 1 million units.

"The level should be closer to 1.8 million units," Solís said, noting that a high level of used car imports from the United States is a major factor keeping Mexican sales from picking up speed.

For the whole of 2011, about 400,000 used vehicles were brought into the country from the United States. Between January and July of this year, that figure reached 239,100 used vehicles.

"The U.S. auto industry has treated Mexico as its vehicular backyard, and has stopped vehicle renewal in Mexico," Solís said.

Since 2005, some 6.5 million cars from the United States have entered Mexico, which has "damaged" the local market, he added.

In September, the Mexican association of automotive distributors, Amda, asked the country’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, "to take necessary measures to stop the import of used vehicles" from the United States.

The number of used vehicles imported into Mexico between January and July was the equivalent of 44.4 percent of total new car sales in the country over the same period, according to figures published by the association.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.

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