New light-vehicle sales in Mexico bounced back in March, but posed no threat the month’s 2006 benchmark.

Mexican dealers delivered 85,579 new LVs in March, an increase of 5,772 units from February’s 79,807-unit tally and 3,078 higher than the 82,501 sold a year ago. The tally was well shy of the record 96,297 LVs sold in the month eight years earlier.

Viewed from the perspective of the average daily selling rate, the March performance was somewhat weaker, with the month’s 3,423-a-day pace falling 1.3% below February’s 3,470-unit flow, but still distancing the 3,173 LVs sold daily a year earlier. Compared with the 3,173 LVs sold daily in March 2006, last month’s deliveries were down 7.6%.

That the industry performed as well as it did largely was due to sales of 31,185 light trucks that outpaced prior-year’s 26,941 deliveries by 20.4%.  Although March light-truck deliveries bested those of the prior month, their daily rate fell 0.9% short of matching that of February. Compared with the record 41,835 light trucks sold in March 2007, last month’s tally ranked fifth, trailing by 22.5%. 

On the other hand, March sales of 54,394 new cars ranked only sixth for the month historically, trailing by 5.6% the benchmark 64,283 units sold in 2004. Compared with year-ago, they were up 1.8%, but fell short of  February’s selling pace by 1.6%.

First-quarter LV sales totaled 250,775 units, 1.7% ahead of the 246,683 sold in like-2013.

Collectively, European makes, including Fiat, posted the strongest gains, up 6.7% to capture 25.2% of the market vs. 24.0% a year earlier.

Still, Asian makes accounted for 42.0% of January-March deliveries, up from 41.8% a year ago on the strength of a 2.1% sales increase.

Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors’ North American brands combined accounted for 32.8% of the Mexican market, down from 34.2% in first-quarter 2013, as sales fell 2.4%.

abinder@wardsauto.com