Some of the 76,000 vehicles reported stolen last year in Mexico finished up in the Middle East, eastern Europe and Africa, says the Association of Mexican Insurance Companies, or AMIS.
Association president Recaredo Arias says stolen vehicles leave Mexico in containers shipped from Tamaulipas and Veracruz, two of nine states in which 80% of motor vehicle thefts with violence are committed.
He said international criminal organizations were involved in those thefts.
There were 76,334 insured vehicles stolen between April last year and March of this year, up 21% from the previous period, the highest increase recorded in the last six years, Arias said.
But the last quarter saw a whopping 33% increase: 21,135 vehicles were stolen between January 1 and March 31 of this year.
The thefts committed during the 12-month period cost the insurance industry 8.3 billion pesos in payouts.
Not all stolen vehicles are never seen again: 28,430 were recovered over the 12 months.
Four Nissan models were the most popular among thieves: the Tsuru led the way, followed by the Pick Up, Versa and Sentra.
Trucks are also a target. There were 9,097 semi-tractors stolen during the year, up 32%.
Arias offered two reasons for the increased incidence of auto theft. One was the higher levels of insecurity in general and the other was electoral cycles.
He said there was a change of governor in nine states last year with the result that state security forces were “distracted” from their duties and some new administrations had not made an effort to combat auto theft.