Mexico’s light-vehicle 26-day selling pace slipped 8.9% in March compared with prior-month’s 23-day rate, thanks in part to a weaker-than-expected economic performance in February, although overall volume rose 3.0% to 82,501 units from 80,087.

Conversely, while March sales failed to match year-ago’s 83,439 deliveries, the daily selling rate was 2.7% better than like-2012, when there were 27 selling days.

Economists see the slowdown in LV deliveries as temporary and expect the selling pace to pick up again as the new federal government’s revised spending programs kick in and industrial output increases in the year’s second half.

Cars saw a 5.6% selling-rate increase compared with March 2012, rising to 55,605 units from 54,698, due in part to a 12.0% increase in deliveries of European makes to 16,575 from 15,366.

European volume leader Volkswagen posted a 12.9% year-over-year gain, while several lower- volume brands showed improvements ranging from 3.8% at Renault to 29.4% at Audi.

Light-truck sales fell 2.8% below year-ago to 26,896 units from 28,741. Compared with the prior month’s selling pace, the March result dropped 11.1% despite exceeding February’s 26,776 deliveries.

Still, LV sales for the year were up 5.8% to 246,683 units from 233,155.

The 20,671 VW Jettas sold through March made the car Mexico’s top-selling model so far this year, followed by the Chevrolet Aveo (15,060) and Nissan Versa (12,475).  

Nissan’s versatile cab-chassis was the top-selling light truck with 6,226 units through March. The Honda CR-V was second (5,912) and the Nissan pickup third (5,038).

 abinder@wardsauto.com