The Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA) has released figures that show finished vehicle exports in January declined by 0.4% to 177,928 units, compared to January 2013. The organisation's president, Eduardo Solís, noted that the decrease was due to a fall in the US market brought about by the current harsh winter.

Exported light commercial vehicles were sent mainly to the US, which accounted for 71.4% of the total, followed by Canada (12.4%) and Brazil (3.4%). In fact, exports to Brazil rose three times compared to the corresponding month in 2013, while those to Canada rose by 85.2% and to Latin America by 13.6%. In contrast, European countries took 69.9% fewer units.

In January as a whole, Mexico built 249,400 units, up 2.7% over January 2013, when 242,855 units were manufactured. Of total output, the domestic market accounted for 82.9% and overseas markets for the remaining 17.1%.

In the same month, 85,504 light vehicles were sold, an increase of 1.5%, although still well down on sales of a decade ago.

Significantly, the Mexican Association of Automotive Distributors (AMDA) believes that, for the whole of 2013, more than 100,000 vehicles were imported illegally into the state of Chihuahua from the US, while in Mexico as a whole there are some 644,000 so-called “chocolate” units. The Association would like to see the free movement of these vehicles totally prohibited, given the negative consequences it has for the Mexican industry.

• In other news from Mexico, the port of Guaymas (pictured), which mostly handles minerals traffic, is in negotiations with Ford to export finished vehicles from the company's Hermosillo plant, revealed Adrián Alanis Quiñones, director of the port administration (ADI). Currently, the port is undergoing expansion, with work under way to dredge the access channel and quays to a depth of 16 metres. In the longer term, the aim is to expand the current 67ha working area by a further 60ha.