Mexican car sales up 9.1% in March


In March, 95,487 automobiles were sold in Mexico, 9.1 percent higher than in the same month last year, informed this Tuesday by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi). This is the first positive annual variation since February 2020, when the market grew just 0.3 percent. It is also the largest increase reported by the sector for the third month of the year since 2017.

In a previous conference, Guillermo Rosales, deputy general director of the Mexican Association of Automotive Distributors (AMDA), said that this figure was expected due to the fact that a year ago they did not operate the full month both because of the COVID-19 pandemic (which was just emerging in the country), as well as Easter Week (this year it fell in April).

"We are still in a period of high economic uncertainty, of high uncertainty of consumer behavior and that is a high level of difficulty to estimate how much can be sold (...) Last year, in March we had a considerable drop of 25 percent in sales as a consequence of the deactivation of sales in the second fortnight of March (due to the pandemic) and that is why we may see between March, April and May adjustments in sales of each month, in addition to the effect of Easter Week", he commented.

In accumulated figures, between January and March 2021, 259 thousand 13 automobiles were sold in Mexico, 12.7 percent less than that recorded in the same period of 2020. This is the largest reduction reported by the industry for a similar period since 2009, during the global economic crisis.

Car sales in Mexico fall 28% in 2020 

Car sales in the Mexican market fell by 28% annually in 2020 to a total of 949,353, the lowest figure since 2012, reported the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) on Wednesday.

The data indicates that last year 368,578 fewer light vehicles were sold than in 2019, when sales were 1,317,931 units.

Inegi reported that December was the month with the highest car sales last year, with 105,135, although it is a figure 19.41% lower than that of the same month in 2019, when 130,460 were sold.

"The recovery of domestic demand for light vehicles has been very slow, since sales to the public recorded in December 2020 still showed an annual contraction," explained Julio Santaella, President of Inegi.

The decrease in sales occurs in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has left more than 1.46 million cases and almost 129,000 deaths in Mexico.

The crisis also caused a fall of 9.6% of the GDP in the first nine months of 2020, with a historical annual contraction of 18.7% in the second quarter of that year.

The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) estimates that the economy contracted by nearly 8% in 2020, although it forecasts a 4.6% rebound by 2021.

According to Inegi, the months with the lowest car sales were April with 39,927, and May with 42,034, which coincides with the period in which the Mexican Government decreed a health emergency that suspended non-essential activities.

The importance of the automotive industry is that it represents 3.8% of Mexico's GDP and 20.5% of its manufacturing GDP, more than any other sector, according to the Mexican Association of the Automotive Industry (AMIA).

The industry employs 980,000 direct workers and 3.6 million indirect workers, based on data provided by the AMIA, which includes 22 companies in the industry.

The 2020 data represents the fourth consecutive year of declines after a historical maximum reached in 2016, when the industry sold 1,607,165 units.

In 2019, light vehicle sales totaled 1,317,931, a 7.65% reduction from the 1,427,086 sold in 2018.