November 8, 2017 / 4:10 PM / a year ago

Mexico's auto output hits record high, domestic sales fall

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican auto production hit a record high in October, the country’s main auto industry group said on Wednesday, while domestic auto sales plummeted more than 10 percent.

Mexico produced 365,111 light vehicles last month, up 11.1 percent from October 2016 and the highest total production ever, the Mexican Auto Industry Association (AMIA) said.

Auto exports, which mostly go to the United States, rose 12.7 percent in October from the year-ago period, AMIA said.

But domestic car sales fell for the fifth consecutive month, down 10.2 percent to 123,318 autos.

Guillermo Rosales, deputy director of the Mexican association of automobile distributors (AMDA), attributed the fall to the impact of higher inflation and interest rates on middle-class consumers.

“It represents lower purchasing power,” Rosales said.

Mexico’s booming auto sector has become a growth engine for the economy and an export hub for the industry due to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Manufacturers have been lured to the sector by cheaper labor and numerous free trade agreements.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Writing by Christine Murray; Editing by Paul Simao

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