Official figures claim Mexico’s auto production fell in 2018, but key data is missing
Auto plants established in Mexico built 237,677 light vehicles during December, such figure represents a 9.7% decline compared to same month of 2017, says data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi). However, those figures still do not take into account the production of Mercedes-Benz, which since last September has been manufacturing A Class sedans at the Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes (COMPAS), co-owned by Daimler and Nissan.
Same Inegi data suggests that global automakers built in Mexico 3,908,139 cars and light trucks during 2018, representing a 0.6% decline compared to production volume of 2017. Again, these data omit Mercedes-Benz output during the last quarter.
It’s not clear how many vehicles Mercedes-Benz builds at COMPAS, but one of its suppliers, HBPO, has said it delivers around 400 front-end modules to the assembly facility each day, six days a week, which results in about 10,400 units per month.
Also worth noting, is that COMPAS was designed with an initial annual production capacity of more than 230,000 vehicles, but half of it has already been occupied by Nissan since November 2017 to manufacture its Infiniti QX50 SUV.
Given those figures, is somewhat likely that Mercedes-Benz managed to build 23,980 vehicles in 2018, which is the negative difference between Mexico total auto production in 2018 and 2017. In that scenario total production volume in 2018 would’ve given at least a flat result.
Another decisive factor in the results of 2018 for the Mexican automotive industry was the 4-month shutdown at the Honda plant in Celaya, Guanajuato, as a result of a flood that left huge losses to the Japanese automaker.
The company with the highest production growth was KIA, reporting a production of 294,600 units, which implied a 33% annual increase.
Toyota followed, with a 27% hike on 191,978 vehicles; Audi, with 9.2% and 173,098 units, as well as Mazda, which had an increase of 5.5%, with 149,589 vehicles.
The companies that had the most negative results last year were Honda, which fell 29.5%, by manufacturing 147,158 units; and Ford, which fell 11.1% with 280,499 vehicles.
Inegi December data also confirmed that General Motors overcame Nissan as the largest automaker in Mexico by production volume.
The Detroit company built 834,414 light vehicles in 2018, a 3.6% jump compared to 2017. Meanwhile, Nissan manufactured 762,408 units, which represents an 8.1% drop. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) came third with 639,022 units, up 0.1%.