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The Best Month in 48 Years for Brazil’s Auto Industry

Brazil’s automobile production in February, 2005, was the greatest for the month of February since the start of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers’ (Anfavea) data base in 1957.

186 thousand units were produced, 15.7% more than in January, 2005, and 20.1% more than in February, 2004. Production n the first two months of this year, 346 thousand units, surpassed last year’s over the same period by 11.5%.


The explanation for the large production increase in February has to do with last year’s performance.


“2004 was an agreeably atypical year,” commented Rogelio Goldfarb, president of the Anfavea.


Automobile production in Brazil is usually greater in the middle of the year and small at the beginning and the end of the year, according to Goldfarb.


In 2004 production took a while to pick up steam at the beginning of the year and didn’t fade at the end. According to the Anfavea, the only reason that production was low in January is that it was very high in December, 2004.


During the first two months of this year, Brazil exported a total of US$ 1.355 billion in vehicles and agricultural machinery, 39.6% more than in the first half of last year.


Domestic sales, measured by new vehicle licenses, also expanded. 211,517 vehicles were licensed in the first two months of this year, as against 203,945 in January/February 2004.


In the production of motorized agricultural machinery, however, the figures are not encouraging. 4,603 units were produced in February, 2005, 13.1% more than in January, 2005, but 15.9% less than in February, 2004.


When production figures for the first two months of this year are compared with the equivalent period in 2004, there was also a decline, of 8.5%. Compared with the first two months of 2004, domestic sales were also down, 28.5%.


In Goldfarb’s view, this is the result of the fall in worldwide agricultural commodity prices and the drought in southern Brazil. “We are monitoring this decline in agribusiness, since it can also affect sales of pickup trucks and passenger vehicles. February was also the 14th straight month of new hirings in the automobile industry.”


Last month 792 people were hired to work in passenger vehicle, utility vehicle, and truck factories, and 102 workers were fired at agricultural machinery plants, for a positive balance of 690 jobs.


Translation: David Silberstein
Agência Brasil

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