Total sales of commercial trucks in Mexico plunged 46.8% in March, according to Mexico’s National Association of Manufacturers of Buses, Trucks and Tractor-trucks (ANPACT).
The year-over-year decline in sales is one of the steepest ever recorded, and one that could deepen even further in the next several months, said Miguel Elizalde, president of ANPACT.
“The drop in sales responds to a series of factors that have already been present since July 2019, resulting in the steepest drop in sales during the first quarter of the last 10 years,” Elizalde said in a statement. “In the coming months, however, the impact will be even greater due to the [Mexican] exchange rate, and the caution the industry will have in renewing its fleet in view of the economic situation that is coming.”
Class 8 truck sales fell 42.7% to 532 units sold in March, compared to 928 the same time last year.
Sales of Class 7 trucks recorded the largest drop, falling 54.2% with only 27 units sold in March, compared to 59 last year.
Sales of fifth-wheel tractors fell 48.1% to 864 vehicles sold, compared to 1,666 units last year.
Class 4 and 5 trucks decreased 33%, with 221 sold, compared to 330 last year. Class 6 trucks were the only segment to record an increase, selling 201 units in March, 9.2% more than last year.
Truck makers with major plants in Mexico include Navistar International, Kenworth, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Daimler. ANPACT has said more than 95% of truck exports are destined for the United States and Canada.
Elizalde recently asked the Mexican government to recognize the manufacture and import of heavy vehicles and auto parts, as well as the sale and registration of them, as an “essential sector.”
Elizalde’s request is in response to the closure of truck and auto parts manufacturing plants across the country in order to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Dozens of automakers have suspended operations, with Honda and Toyota both recently announcing they would extend the plant closures.
“Therefore, in support of the health emergency, we have requested that the entire motor transport chain be specified as an essential activity, in order to have more vehicles in optimal conditions supporting the motor transport companies and not detained in yards or the production chain,” Elizalde said in a statement.