Pandemic Bit into Brazil’s Auto Sales

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Pandemic Bit into Brazil’s Auto Sales
A driver's point of view of a Ford dealership on a highway in Cerquilho, a municipality in the state of Sao Paulo in Brazil. © Mauricio Graiki

Passenger car registrations in Brazil declined in December and for full year 2020 due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released by Brazil’s automobile manufacturers association. The country’s automotive manufacturers posted increases in exports and production in December, showing signs of recovery.

The National Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, or Anfavea, reported that passenger car registrations – including locally manufactured and imported cars – declined 7% to 243,967 in December, compared to the same month in 2019. For the full year registrations dropped 26% to 2.1 million.

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Figures for most of 2020 were strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which interrupted a three-year recovery cycle for Brazil’s automotive industry, the association said in a news release. That recovery started after the country’s economic crisis of 2015-2016.

The association noted that December had the highest monthly level of auto sales during the year, with a daily average of 11,600 units. February, however, was the only month to better the level of the corresponding month in 2019, even though sales did rebound during the second half of the year.

Brazil exported 38,405 passenger cars in December, 32% more than the same month of 2019. For the full year, vehicle exports fell 24% to 324,330, down from 428,208 in 2019. The association acknowledged that the 2020 figure was the lowest for Brazil since 2002.

Production of passenger cars in Brazil increased 23% to 209,296 in December. For the full year production dropped 32% to 2 million. The association deemed the December car production total a pleasant surprise, noting it came despite logistical challenges presented by input limitations and pandemic-related health protocols. Sales were most impacted in the second quarter of 2020, when most factories and stores in Brazil temporarily closed.

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