The March light-vehicle selling pace slowed for the third straight month in Mexico, but overall volume still set a 10th consecutive monthly benchmark.

Sales of 4,489 units daily in March trailed February’s 4,809-unit rate by 2.8% and 9.9% short of January’s robust 4,984-a-day pace, but ran 2.8% higher than prior year’s 4,366 units.

With 26 available selling days in March compared with 24 a year earlier, Mexican dealers nevertheless delivered a record 116,724 cars and light trucks last month, erasing the prior March peak of 104,777 units set a year ago and handily surpassing the 110,612 units delivered in February thanks to three extra selling days.

Cars alone reached an all-time March high of 75,130 units, besting by 1.5% the prior peak of 68,294 set in 2015 and exceeding February’s 71,012 vehicles, despite the slower rate of travel.

While light-truck sales surpassed those of the prior year 41,594 to 36,483, the segment fell just short of the record 41,835 sold in March 2007.

First-quarter LV sales overall totaled a benchmark 349,960 units, up 13.5% from 305,788 in like-2015, marking a strong opening for a robust if not record performance in 2016.

The record 221,787 cars sold in the quarter were 9.8% higher than in like-2015, although they lost market share to light trucks, which grabbed a 44.7% slice of the market this year compared with 39.5% year-ago on a 20.6% sales increase to a benchmark 124,173 units.

abinder@wardsauto.com