Spurred by an improving economy, light-vehicle sales in Mexico reached a May record of

87,387 units, up 9.1% from 80,097 year-ago and up 1.9% from the prior record of 85,978 set in 2006.

The new May sales peak was due in large part to 26 selling days last month, compared with 24 in May 2006.

Behind last month’s push were record car sales of 56,726 units, up 1.5% from the previous record of 55,895 set in 2002 and edging past year-ago’s 50,807. May also bested 50,855 deliveries in like-2006 by 11.3%.

Although last month’s light-truck sales of 30,621 units inched past prior-year’s 29,290, they fell short of 35,123 in 2006 and posed no threat to the May record of 36,211 in 2008.

Nissan remained Mexico’s top-selling brand last month with 21,703 LV deliveries. Chevrolet held onto second place with 15,196 and Volkswagen remained third with 14,883, despite having the country’s best-selling car, the Jetta, with 7,572.

Industry LV sales in the first five months reached 417,416 units, a gain of 9.0% on prior-year’s 383,012. European brands jumped 15.9%, while the Asians rose 8.4% and the Detroit Three increased 5.4%.

abinder@wardsauto.com