Automotive production declined 4.1% in 2019 compared to the previous year, while vehicle exports fell 3.4%, according to official data published on Wednesday.
The national statistics agency Inegi reported that automakers manufactured just over 3.75 million vehicles in Mexico last year, the lowest number since 2016 when 3.46 million units rolled off production lines.
The General Motors strike in the United States between September 15 and October 25 and lower domestic production by Ford due to the changing of equipment at its Mexico plants were among the factors that caused the decline.
Exports fell to 3.33 million cars in 2019, Inegi said, the first annual decline since 2009 although above the 3.25 million units sent abroad in 2017. About 80% of exports went to the United States, the only country to which Mexico sent more vehicles in 2019 than the year before.
Lower global demand for new cars was also reflected in Mexico, where sales declined 7.7% last year to 1.31 million. The figure is the lowest in five years and indicative of a weak Mexican economy that entered a light recession in the first half of 2019.
The automotive production and export figures were even worse in December. Auto output fell 12.7% to 208,073 vehicles and exports slumped 16.7% to 229,227 units.
The signing of a revised version of the new North American free trade agreement last month does, however, provide greater certainty for the Mexican auto industry and could help it recover in 2020.
Source: Reuters (sp)