Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Mexico’s car exports increased 22.6% annually in February

Continuing a trend of automotive industry growth, February car exports from Mexico grew by 22.6% over the same month last year, according to data from Mexico’s national statistics agency INEGI.

Last month, foreign automakers operating in Mexico exported 282,608 light vehicles, the most ever in the month of February and the biggest year-over-year monthly increase in 12 years according to Milenio newspaper. More than 75% of the exports were classified as light trucks (including SUVs, pickups).

General Motors topped February’s list of auto industry exporters with 68,949 vehicles sent abroad, mostly to the United States. Other big exporters were: 

  • Nissan (41,632)
  • Stellantis (33,124)
  • Volkswagen (30,663). 

General Motors and Nissan reported significant export increases over their February 2023 performances — 35.9% and 30.1% respectively — but Volkswagen made even more impressive gains, with an increase of 115.7%.

Total car exports from Mexico in 2024 have so far reached 536,975, a 14.6% increase over January-February 2023. The value of auto exports for 2023 surpassed US $188.9 billion — up 14.3 percent over 2022 — and a record high.

Automobile production in Mexico in February alone reached 318,725 vehicles, nearly 8% more than were assembled in February 2023. This lifted total 2024 production to 625,804, an 8.64% rise over January-February 2023.

These numbers come on the heels of a productive 2023, the auto industry’s most profitable year since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

BMW plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico
A worker puts together a sedan at the BMW plant in San Luis Potosí. (BMW)

INEGI data shows that nearly 3.78 million automobiles were produced in Mexico last year, a 14.2% rise in annual terms but slightly behind the 3.81 million units assembled in 2019. Still, the year-over-year increase in percentage terms was the largest recorded in 13 years.

Of those 3.78 million vehicles produced in 2023, Mexico exported just over 3.3 million light vehicles last year, as the automotive industry accounted for one in every three US dollars exported by Mexico in 2023. 

The automotive industry includes the auto parts sector which is the world’s third-largest. 

The domestic car market is also thriving, although it is impacted by the fact that local consumers predominantly purchase imported vehicles and used cars. According to INEGI, 113,258 vehicles were sold in the domestic market last month, lifting total 2024 domestic vehicle sales to 225,357. These numbers do not distinguish between vehicles produced in Mexico versus imports.

The automotive industry anticipates a 10.8% increase in production this year, exceeding 4 million units, according to Odracir Barquera, CEO of the Mexican Automotive Industry Association.

With reports from Milenio and El Universal

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