Car output in Brazil soared in March as manufacturers ramped up production to keep up with record sales fueled by a strong economic rebound, the national automakers’ association Anfavea said on Wednesday.
Automakers churned out 331,000 new cars and trucks in March, a 32.5% increase over February and up 20.3% from March 2009.
Sales grew at an even faster pace in March as consumers rushed to take advantage of an expiring tax break that has allowed dealers to lower showroom prices.
New car and truck sales surged 60.1% from February and 30.3% from a year earlier, reaching an all-time monthly high of 353,700 units, Anfavea said.
Last week, the national association of automobile dealers Fenabrave had reported sales figures for March.
In the first quarter of 2010, sales jumped 17.9% to 788,000 units, also a record, Anfavea said.
Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, is a major market for Italy’s Fiat, Germany’s Volkswagen AG and US based General Motors and Ford Motor Co.
The government of President Lula da Silva slashed industrial taxes for the auto industry last year in a bid to keep sales alive during an economic downturn.
With the economy growing again at a robust pace, the government decided not to renew the tax breaks, which expired at the end of March.
Fiat remained the market leader in March, selling a whopping 73,545 vehicles, up 51% over February. GM came in second with sales of 70,037 units, up 65.5% over February.
Volkswagen sales surged 63.1% to 69,711 units, while Ford sold 36,303 cars and trucks last month, a 55.1% increase over February.