Production of cars and trucks in Mexico in October hit 174,928 units, an 8.5% drop from the 191,083 units made during like-2000.

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Concern that export production, which accounts for 74.7% of output at Mexican factories, would decline sharply and cause economic hardships hasn’t proven true so far. In October, production for foreign markets dipped 6.9% compared to year-ago’s 140,488 while output for domestic destinations decreased 12.7% from 50,595 to 44,190 units. Eleven months into 2001, export production is holding its own -- down only 2.6% vs. like-2000 figures. Domestic outturn is running 4.3% behind year-ago’s 401,650 units.

Combined production by the U.S. Big Three totaled 106,569 cars and trucks, compared to 111,172 vehicles built year-ago for a drop of 4.1%.

Ford Motor Co. Mexico S.A. de C.V. was the only one of the three to record a decline in output, which fell a whopping 30.9% to 20,784 units. Production of the Escort and F-Series slowed considerably.

DaimlerChrysler de Mexico S.A. de C.V. increased outturn 8.9% (40,415 vs. 37,112) thanks to a 29.2% rise in Ram pickup production.

General Motors de Mexico S.A. de C.V.’s factories assembled 45,370 vehicles or 3.2% more than the 43,967 units churned out during like-2000. While Suburban production was cut 43.3%, the auto maker has added output of the Buick Rendezvous and Chevy Avalanche to its Mexican operations in the last year.

Nissan Mexicana S.A. de C.V.’s production was flat with like-2000, and Volkswagen de Mexico S.A. de C.V. cut output at its Puebla facility by 31.1%.

In other news affecting Mexican manufacturing:

  • The International Monetary Fund says Mexico is eligible for credit totaling as much as $16.4 billion to help keep the country’s economy stable during economic downturns. Mexico hasn’t asked for fiscal assistance.

· Visteon Corp.’s Monterrey plant wins an order to make instrument panels for Renault Clios assembled in Mexico. The vehicle's instrument panel incorporates a seamless airbag design. Visteon also will make air conditioning hoses for the Clio at its plant in Querétaro. In early November, the facility began producing instrument panels for the Renault Scenic.

· Denso Corp. will build a $14.4 million facility in Frontera to make hoses and tubes for automotive air conditioners and spot coolers. Production is being shifted from California. The factory is scheduled to open in July and employ 400.

· The Mexico City government bans use of the VW Beetle as a taxi cab as of January due to concerns regarding occupant safety during a collision. It is expected that the Nissan Tsuru or Chevy Monza will replace the Bug, or “Vochito” as its known in Mexico.