Mexico’s optimistic March sales bounce proves to be short lived as light-vehicle deliveries tanks again in April, slipping to seventh best from fifth, putting the industry on course to an estimated 1,050,000 units this year, 1.2% less than prior-year’s fourth-best 1,061,728 units.

An economic slowdown resulting from higher taxes due to a revised tax code, fewer exports, less consumer spending and rising unemployment is being blamed for the lack-luster April performance.

While some economists say second-half economic growth could be bolstered by seasonal export increases and more robust government spending, the economic growth outlook for 2014 remains well below the 3.9% forecast early in the year.

For LV makers, the sluggish economy resulted in just 76,778 new cars and light trucks finding buyers in April, or 2,953 each of 26 selling days, down 13.7% from the prior-month’s 3,423 daily sales (25 days) on volume of 85,579. It was 11.5% less than the 3,335 units sold each of 25 days a year earlier, when deliveries reached 83,386 LVs.

The all-time April record was posted in 2005, when 85,908 vehicles were sold at a rate of 3,304 daily over 26 days.   

Car sales alone, slipped 14.3%, to seventh place historically, on sales of 48,981 compared with prior-year’s 54,958 units, while the 27,797 light trucks delivered also slipped to the No.7 spot, down 6.0% from the 28,428 sold in April 2013.

All sectors of the LV market suffered in April with the Detroit Three automakers down a collective 14.8% from year-ago with only relatively low-volume Buick posting a 9.6% sales gain.

Asian-make sales were off 11.9% despite a whopping 900%-plus gain by newcomer Subaru that was just entering the market in April last year, a 65.4% increase in low-volume sales of Infiniti luxury vehicles and gain of 12.9% at Mitsubishi and 3.8% at commercial-vehicle marketer, Isuzu.

European brands fared a bit better, posting only a 5.7% year-over-year decline, in spite of Fiat-brand’s 7.8% hike and Jaguar Land Rover’s 27.0% increase.

 abinder@wardsauto.com