As we move into what appears to be a complicated year not only for the automotive industry but for the country in general, let’s have a recap of what 2017 brought to the Mexican industry.

On the bright side, the country keeps strengthening its position as a light-vehicle powerhouse with record numbers both in production and exports. This, despite the looming fears of the impact that the renegotiation of NAFTA could have on the national industry. Our expectations derived from November figures proved to be right with the industry ending the year with production of 3.77 million cars and exports of 3.10 million units representing an increase of 8.9 and 12.1 percent respectively compared to 2016.

Although Nissan remains the leading producer in the country, its output decreased by 2.2 percent. Meanwhile, GM grew its production by 14.6 percent thus narrowing the gap between the first and second-place manufacturers. By the end of 2017, GM was behind Nissan by only 23,504 units. The big winner was Kia after ramping its production by 106 percent when compared to the previous year, followed by FCA with a significant increment in production of 39.1 percent.

Exports, however, reuslted in a different leaderboard. GM crowned itself as the leading exporter with 693,782 units, followed by FCA with 599,490 cars. This left Nissan in third place with 468,863 vehicles and a decrease of 6.3 percent compared to 2016. Kia once again presented the most significant growth with a 75.9 percent increase, followed by FCA with 35.2 percent.

Results from 2017 also showed promise for Mexico to grow its exports beyond North America. Although this region represented more than 83 percent of the country’s total exports by the end of the year, shipments to Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa grew considerably at 18.8, 45.2, 38.1 and 492.8 percent respectively.

Moving on to the gloomier side, sales ended in negative growth compared to 2016 as they threatened to do for most of the year. Apart from slight growth seen in Q1 and May, monthly results consistently fell short from 2016’s results. In the end, total sales accounted for 1.53 million units and a 4.6 percent decrease. Most volume brands showed negative or marginal growth of less than 1 percent with the exception of Kia, Hyundai, Peugeot and Suzuki. The premium segment was also hit by the negative results of the year, leaving only Mercedes-Benz and BMW with significant increases in sales of 21.9 and 6.6 percent respectively.

The silver lining for the domestic market is that imports of used vehicles continue decreasing. By November 2017, only 112,226 used cars were imported representing a decrease of 18.4 when compared to 2016. Although October and November showed a reverse tendency with increases of over 22 percent, end-year numbers will likely be between 124,000 and 126,000 imported units.

The data used in this article was sourced from AMIA.

Don’t forget to follow us on twitter at @mexautomotive and @mexautomotriz for the latest industry news.

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