Although Mexican autos demand looks set for a positive growth in 2010, any expectation that demand in domestic recovery is likely to be swift will receive a blow, thanks to a number of regulatory and economic factors which will act as a deterrent to growth during the forecast period.

While the Mexican autos industry association AMIA has called for the government to introduce regulations and incentives to encourage new vehicle sales, BMI stresses that improved autos financing offers the best possible support for recovery in the country’s autos demand.

After two consecutive years of declines in sales, the market registered 3.3% fewer vehicles, to 188,944 units, during Q110, meaning that domestic sales are yet to bottom out. Given that we expect demand in 2010 to be helped by the base effect from 2009 sales, we forecast sales to grow by just over 6% y-o-y, to 834,000 units, by 2010. However, impeded by an expected slowdown in the US economic activity in 2011 and the proposed tax hikes domestically, we expect autos sales to recover to 1.12mn units by the end of 2014, having only partially recovered from the 1.14mn units sold in 2007. Recovery in autos production, however, is likely to be quicker, as we expect carmakers to increasingly focus on exports to drive up their capacity utilisation. After a close to 10% y-o-y increase in production, to 1.73mn units in 2010, we expect production to reach 2.33mn units by the end of 2014. We believe that a major support to this level will come from targeting more growth-promising markets in Latin American and Asia.

Signs of these already emerged last year when India’s Tata Motors, in partnership with local manufacturer Grupo Autofin, announced plans to produce its ultra-low-cost Nano model in Mexico from 2012 with the view to supply its vehicles in the Latin American market. Meanwhile, Honda Motor, in November last year, made an investment of US$6mn in a production line at its El Salto plant to help assemble its new CR-V sport utility vehicle (SUV) at the plant. Indeed, such investments have helped Mexico rank in the third position in BMI’s regional ratings this quarter.

BMI points out that an additional benefit to Mexico from such expansions will be the emergence of an integrated supplier base, in the presence of both local and international suppliers. Having built strong associations with international clients, most Mexican suppliers are venturing for worldwide recognition and expertise through acquisition of businesses of their competing international firms. Metalsa and Katcom current stand as the best example of the trend.

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