North American automakers built 1,297,071 light vehicles in January, up just 0.1% from year-ago but the highest output for the month since 2003.
The month was highlighted by start of production at Mazda’s new plant in Salamanca, Mexico, which built 413 Mazda3 sedans in January. Including the addition of the Mazda2 later this year, WardsAuto predicts Mazda’s production will surpass 70,000 cars in 2014.
The new Mazda plant is one of three opening in Mexico over a 12-month period starting in fourth-quarter 2013 when Nissan launched a second plant in Aguascalientes. The additional plant helped Nissan increase its January production a whopping 20% from like-2013. All of Nissan’s U.S. plants recorded gains from the prior year, but the facility with greatest growth was Smyrna, TN, where increased production of the Altima, Leaf and Maxima helped boost output 56.9%.
Rounding out the new plants in Mexico will be Honda’s start of production in Celaya.
In Mexico, LV production grew 2.3% from year-ago, and the country recorded its best-ever January with 247,923 units.
Production in the U.S. totaled 875,910 in January, up 0.6% from same-month 2013. Canada posted a 5.4% decline to 173,238.
North American car production totaled 564,685 units, down 7.3% from January 2013. Light-truck assemblies increased 6.6% to 732,386.