Vehicle sales might be slowing in the US but assembly plants in Mexico, which produce and export such hits as the VW New Beetle and Chrysler PT Cruiser, will this year build considerably more cars and light trucks than last year.

According to Automotive News, Mexico car and light-truck production topped 1.59 million units to the end of October, 27.6% more than in 1999. October production was up 49.8% to 189,386 units.

Mexico continues to enjoy strong sales, too, Automotive News said. October volume totaled 74,292 units, up 29.4 percent from October 1999. For the year to date, 666,687 units were sold, 33.4% ahead of 1999.

The Nissan Tsuru was top model in October with 8,366 units sold, a 23.3% increase on October 1999. Next came the Chevrolet Joy/Swing at 5,871, up 3.8 percent. The Volkswagen Beetle was third on 3,510 with the Jetta (3,274) fourth.

Looking at export production, Automotive News reported the Chevrolet Suburban just ahead of the Chrysler PT Cruiser in October with 18,073 to 17,898 units. The Jetta was third on 16,392 units, trailed by the Nissan Sentra (15,865).