Nissan’s Mexican affiliate said on Tuesday it is reducing its production goal for 2003 to last year’s output of 328,950 cars due to slower demand in the United States, Reuters reported, noting that the original production goal for this year was 355,000 vehicles.

From January to July, Nissan produced 167,156 cars, 13.5% less than the same period last year, Reuters said, citing the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA).

“I don’t want to be pessimistic, at best we could reach the same figures as last year,” Diego Arrazola, spokesman for Nissan Mexico, told Reuters, adding: “The competition is very strong but we’re competing with improvements in service, new products and promotions.”

Reuters said that, in July, the AMIA reported production and exports fell in the sector due to lower demand in the United States, Mexico’s main trading partner, amid an economic slowdown in both countries. Mexico is the 10th largest car maker in the world.

Reuters noted that Volkswagen Mexico [also much dependent on US exports] has said it is reducing production by 23%, and its workers last week agreed to a shorter working week to avoid 2,000 layoffs due to the production cut.