MEXICO CITY, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Mexican automotive production and exports fell for the fifth month running in November, figures from the national statistics agency (INEGI) showed on Monday, as ongoing shortages of semiconductors put the brakes on the industry.
Mexican automotive production plunged by 20.25% from November 2020 to 248,960 vehicles, while auto exports declined by 16.46% to 240,341 units, the INEGI data showed.
A global semiconductor shortage has prompted automakers in Mexico and the rest of North America to implement rolling shutdowns, curtailing production and hitting workers hard.
"The stoppages are due to the shortage of semiconductors, and yes, production decreased due to the shortage," a spokesperson for the Mexico operations of Detroit-based General Motors Co (GM.N) said in response to a query about falling output.
INEGI data showed that GM Mexico's production fell 43.7% in November from a year earlier, to 40,534 units.
Nissan's Mexico unit told Reuters the shortage was also impacting production, after INEGI data showed its output plummeted 27.2% in November to 41,525 vehicles.
Mexican auto parts industry group INA said the global semiconductor shortage could be further complicated in 2022 as fifth-generation (5G) technologies are adopted.
"We estimate the impact due to semiconductor shortage will last at least until the first quarter of next year. But this is coupled with a very important issue, which is the switch from 4G networks to 5G," INA interim chief Alberto Bustamante said.
Bustamante estimated the impact due to the chip shortage could begin normalizing as of the second quarter of 2022.
Mexico's auto production fell by 20% to 3.04 million vehicles last year during the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA) has forecast that it could drop by up to 5% more in 2021.
AMIA chief Fausto Cuevas forecast that Mexico's auto production would return to pre-pandemic levels by late 2023 or in 2024.
In the first 11 months of 2021, Mexican automotive production fell by 0.68% from the same period last year to 2,767,004 vehicles, while auto exports over the same period increased by 3.02% to 2,479,515 units, INEGI figures show.
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