Chip shortage seen limiting Mexico auto output to 2020 levels

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E SUVs are hauled to rail cars on Dec. 19, 2020, after being assembled at the Ford plant in Cuautitlán, Izcalli, Mexico. The nation produced 21% fewer vehicles last month than a year earlier, when production was already lower than usual due to the pandemic. (Ford Motor Co./Detroit Free Press/TNS)
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Andrea Navarro Bloomberg News (TNS)

Mexico’s auto output this year is now expected to be similar to last year’s level amid a worldwide chip shortage that had production plants running at just over 50% capacity in August.

The nation produced 21% fewer vehicles last month than a year earlier, when production was already lower than usual due to the pandemic. The month’s output was 6.5% lower than the average for the same month over the past 10 years, said Fausto Cuevas, head of Mexico’s auto chamber, in a press conference Monday.

“The chip shortage has become a problem for companies to maintain production levels,” Cuevas said. “We now estimate the total volume this year to be close to 3 million vehicles, close to what we had last year.” Mexico produced 3.75 million cars in 2019 and just over 3 million in 2020. The industry expects shortages to last until the second half of 2022, he said.

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The worst-hit automaker was Daimler AG’s Mercedes Benz, which saw a 63% drop in production. General Motors Co. posted a 59% drop and Mazda Motor Corp. output fell 47%, according to Inegi, Mexico’s statistics agency.

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