Brazil Has Best Semester for Car Sales Ever: Close to 1.5 Million Units

Brazilian Volkswagen Brazilian car sales in the first half of 2009 grew 3% in comparison with the same period last year. Sales totaled 1,449,787 units, as against 1,407,211 in the first half of 2008, according to a monthly report disclosed yesterday June 6 by the National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea).

Sales totaled 300,157 in June, representing growth of 21.5% over May, when 246,978 units were sold.

The figure recorded in June this year represents growth of 17.2% in comparison with June 2008, when 256,005 units were sold. According to the organization, this was the best result ever recorded in June, the best day having been June 30, with over 24,000 units sold. The first half was also considered the best in history.

Vehicle production in the first half decreased 13.6% in comparison with the same period of 2008. In the first six months of 2009, 1,463,707 vehicles were produced, as against 1,693,249, according to figures from Anfavea's monthly report.

In the comparison between June and May, production increased by 8.4%. In June, 283,875 automobiles were manufactured, as against 261,812 in May. There was a reduction of 8.2% in comparison with June 2008, when 309,169 units were made.

Exports decreased by 47.8% in the first half of the year. A total of 199,052 units were shipped abroad in 2009, as against 381,222 units in the first six months of 2008.

In June 2009, 38,503 units were exported, as against 38,482 units in the previous month, representing growth of 0.1%. In comparison with June last year, when 72,595 units were sold, there was also a reduction, of 47%.

According to the president of Anfavea, Jackson Schneider, the result is a consequence of a higher volume of credit available, lower interest rates and the reduction of the Tax on Industrialized Products (IPI).

"Besides, there is also the resumption of market confidence, particularly with regard to consumption." Schneider stated that exports remain the main challenge for the sector, as sales have decreased by US$ 13.5 billion (-51%) and, as a consequence, the industry produced 180,000 less units in the comparison between the first halves of 2009 and 2008.

Still according to the monthly bulletin, the number of jobs fell 0.7% in June this year in comparison with the previous month: there were 119,511 positions in June, against 120,377 in May. In comparison with June last year, when the auto industry employed 126,542 workers, the rate of reduction was 5.6%.

"Employment is linked to production, which is in turn linked to the domestic and export markets. We have had a sharp decline in the export market, hence the reduction in the number of jobs. Now we must watch and see how the market behaves in the second half," said Schneider.

The president of the organization also announced a revision in the forecasts for 2009. According to him, the sales forecast was 2.7 million units, the equivalent to a 4% reduction over the previous year. By the revised estimate, due to the reduction in the IPI, the figure is 3 million units, representing growth of 6.4% over 2008.

In terms of production, the forecast that had been made in the beginning of the year was that 2.8 million new vehicles would be manufactured, 11.1% less than in 2008. The new forecast is that little over 3 million units should be made, 5.2% more than in the year before.

ABr

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