By Stephen Downer, Special to Tire Business
SAN RAFAEL, CUAUHTÉMOC, Mexico — Mexico's production of light vehicles totaled an unprecedented 3,399,076 in 2015 — 5.6 percent more than the 3,219,786 produced in 2014.
The industry assembled a record 222,941 units in December, which is 6.9 percent more than the 208,498 produced in the same month a year earlier, according to auto industry trade group Asociación Mexicana de la Industria Automotriz AC (AMIA).
Vehicle exports also reached historic levels, not only accumulatively but in December. For the year they reached 2,758,896 vehicles, a 4.4-percent increase from 2014's 2,642,887, while in December alone they totaled 206,651, 5.9 percent above the 195,091 of December 2014.
Sales of new light vehicles to the public grew 19 percent last year, reaching 1,351,648, compared with 1,135,409 in 2014.
According to Tom Grávalos, president of San Rafael, Cuauhtémoc-based Mexican tire association Cámara Nacional de la Industria Hulera (CNIH), the OEM market in Mexico is 15 million tires, while the replacement market is in the range of between 28 million and 30 million tires.
“About 75 percent of the demand is met” by tire makers in Mexico, Mr. Grávalos told Tire Business in an interview.
The Mexican auto industry's results contrast starkly with those of Brazil and Argentina.
Brazil assembled 2,333,903 light vehicles in 2015 — 21.6 percent down on the 2,975,440 of 2014, according to AMIA. Argentina's production was 526,657, 11.8 percent below the 2014 total of 596,842.
At 139,757 vehicles, Brazil's production in December was 29.9 percent below that of the same month in 2014, which saw 199,502, while Argentina's was 20.3 percent down at 31,485 vs. 39,494 in the same 2014 month, AMIA reported.
Stephen Downer is a Mexico-based freelance writer who covers that country and Latin America for Tire Business and its Latin America e-newsletter.