Brazil Auto Sales Recovering Slowly

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Brazil Auto Sales Recovering Slowly
© Joa Souza

Passenger car registrations in Brazil declined in December but were higher for full year 2021, showing a slight recovery in spite of the ongoing global semiconductor shortage, according to data released by Brazil’s automobile manufacturers association.

The country’s vehicle exports and production improved, as recovery continued from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts in 2020.

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The National Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, or Anfavea, reported that passenger car registrations – including for locally manufactured and imported cars – dropped 15% in December to 207,053 units. Although this was the lowest December sales total in five years, it was the highest monthly sales total in 2021, ahead of 189,389 in March and 188,678 in May. In 2021, total sales reached 2.1 million units in 2021, 3% higher than 2020’s total though 24% short of 2019’s 2.8 million mark. For this year, the association projects sales of 2.3 million vehicles, a 9% increase.

In December, the country exported 41,581 vehicles, an 8% increase. Brazil exported 376,383 units in 2021, a 16% jump that represented a recovery from 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted a three-year recovery cycle for Brazil’s automotive industry. The earlier recovery started after the country’s economic crisis of 2015-2016.

The 2021 export total remained 13% behind 2019’s pace of 433,512 vehicles exported. In 2021, rapid recovery after the peak of the pandemic in South American markets such as Chile, Columbia, Peru and Uruguay helped boost Brazil’s vehicle exports despite trade restrictions imposed by Argentina’s government, according to the association. For 2022, the projected export figure is 390,000, which would be 4% higher than last year.

The country produced 210,900 vehicles in December, edging up 1%, for the highest monthly figure last year. It was also time monthly production crossed the 200,000 mark since March. As a result, 2021 ended with 2.2 million vehicles produced, topping 2020’s total by 12%, but remaining 24% behind 2019’s 2.9 million pace. The association said it expects production in 2022 to reach 2.4 million vehicles, a 9% increase.

The global semiconductor crisis caused several factory shutdowns in Brazil throughout last year due to a lack of electronic components, leading to an estimated loss in production of 300,000 vehicles, President Luiz Carlos Moraes said in a press release. This year’s forecast is still for restrictions on supply due to lack of components, but to a lesser degree than in 2021, projecting another step in recovery from the pandemic, he suggested. Looking to this year, the association was moderately optimistic. Anfavea projects sales of 2.3 million vehicles, a 9% increase. Brazil’s automotive exports are expected to reach 390,000, a 4% increase. And production is forecast to reach 2.4 million vehicles, up 9%.

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