Automakers ramp up light trucks production in Mexico
Automakers established in Mexico have reconfigured their production capacity in recent months to reduce the output of sedans and compact cars and give more capacity to the manufacturing of light trucks, a segment that includes pickups and SUVs, according to official data.
Figures from the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA) show that in the first two months of this year almost 6 of every 10 vehicles assembled in the country were light trucks —mostly SUVs— while a year earlier the ratio was 4 for every 10 and seven years ago it was 30%.
Between January and February of 2018, 369,348 light trucks were assembled in Mexico, 36.5% more than in the same period of 2017, according to data from the AMIA.
The change in the production strategy is due to the growing demand of light trucks in the world, but mainly in the United States, destination of 73.9% of the total Mexican auto exports.
During the first two months of 2018, 317,357 light trucks were shipped abroad, which meant an increase of 35.1% compared to the same period of 2017. In contrast, cars exports totaled 189,711 units, 18% less than those in the first two months of last year.
An example of this transition is the Jeep Compass and Chevrolet Equinox models that formally began production in Mexico last year and to date are among the five most exported vehicles. In fact, these two models together with the Honda HR-V represent almost 31% of the total SUV exports.
Currently in the United States, 64.5% of the total vehicles sold are light trukcs, while eight years ago it was less than 40%, according to data from WardsAuto.