With the country’s unemployment at a near 5-year low and economic activity increasing, Mexico new light-vehicle sales are forecast to top 1.1 million units in 2014, a 4% gain on 2013’s 1.06 million deliveries.

In line with that brighter outlook, dealers opened the year with a 1.5% increase in January LV deliveries to 85,389 units, or 3,442 daily, compared with 84,095 units, or 3,364 daily, in the same month a year earlier.

January’s total ranked sixth behind the month’s record-performance set in 2007, when sales of 97,135 LVs averaged 3,736 daily.

That last month’s selling pace fell 28.4% from December’s 4,584-a-day rate, on volume of 119,189 units, largely was the result of strong year-end incentives that helped pull ahead deliveries from January.

Still, January’s volume, equaling 7.8% of a forecast of 1.1 million units for entire 2014, compared favorably with the 7.9% share of 2013’s volume garnered in January a year earlier.

LV sales were bolstered by a 5.8% increase in European-make deliveries from the prior year, compared with 2.5% gain for the Asian makes and a decline of 2.6% for General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler combined.

Although industry light-truck sales of 50,590 units fell more precipitously from December to January (31.3%) than cars (26.6%), deliveries were 6.8% ahead of January 2013’s 28,621 units.

Car volume, on the other hand, fell 1.2% shy of matching January 2013 results.  

abinder@wardsauto.com