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October decline in automotive production biggest in 30 years

One factor in the decline was Ford's zero output as it went through plant changes

The automotive industry recorded its biggest ever annual production decline in October mainly because Ford didn’t make a single vehicle in Mexico last month.

The statistics agency Inegi, which has recorded automotive sector data since 1988, reported on Wednesday that 311,150 vehicles were made in Mexico in October, a 16.3% decline compared to October 2018. The figure is the lowest for a single month since 2013.

Ford told the newspaper El Financiero that it didn’t make any cars in Mexico in October because it was in the process of changing equipment at its plants. Its monthly output is normally between 20,000 and 30,000.

But the Detroit-based automaker wasn’t completely to blame for the record production decline.

General Motors’ Mexico production was 30% lower than October 2018 due to work stoppages at its plants in Silao, Guanajuato, and Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, due to a shortage of parts precipitated by a strike in the United States.

Production at Volkswagen, Kia, Nissan and Mazda declined by 22.3%, 13.2%, 13.1% and 11.8% respectively.

In contrast, Honda, Toyota and Audi all made more cars in their Mexico plants in October compared to the same month a year earlier. Honda’s production increased by a whopping 330%.

In the first 10 months of the year, just over 3.24 million cars were made in Mexico, 2.6% fewer than the same period of 2018. It is the first decline in the period since 2009.

Auto exports were also way down in October. Inegi said that 252,292 vehicles were shipped out of the country, a 19.5% decline compared to October 2018.

The year-over-year export downturn is the biggest since 1992, while the number of vehicles exported is the lowest in four years.

Ford’s exports fell 94% while Mazda sent 52.3% fewer vehicles abroad compared to October 2018.

Exports by Volkswagen, General Motors, Kia and Nissan declined by 33%, 31.7%, 19% and 8.8% respectively. Only two automakers increased their export volumes: Honda by 280% and Audi by 119%.

A total of 2.83 million vehicles were shipped abroad from Mexico between January and October, a 1.7% decline compared to the same period last year. It is the first export decline in the 10-month period since 2016.

Source: El Financiero (sp), El Economista (sp) 

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