Posts By: Marcelo de Vasconcellos

By on September 24, 2012

Here in Brazil, Toyota had to bow to pre-market pressure and lower the price for their Etios. Hyundai goes the other way and is betting that they will be able to command higher prices. In their first try to get at the juicy meat of the Brazilian market, Hyundai has launched their exclusive-to-Brazil small car, the HB20.

Starting from R$32,000 (US$16,000) and reaching an astronomical R$48,000 (US$24,000), Hyundai is claiming the car has two main differentials. According to Hyundai’s dedicated HB20 site the car acts as

“a model built in Brazil for Brazilians. It has Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture design and unrivaled standard content; the New HB20 is striking, modern and sporting.”

Hyundai indulges the buyer: even the lowliest trim will be “complete” by Brazilian standards. In other words, even the base car comes with air conditioning, assisted steering, double frontal airbags and trip computer (according to the folks over at Brazilian enthusiast site bestcars.com.br).

The Hyundai will be the first locally produced Brazilian car to sport an interesting three-cylinder, 1.0L, 12v with 80hp and can run on the local concoction known as gasoline and ethanol. As the engine is the same as the one in the imported Kia Picanto, I warn Brazilian shoppers that although it’s probably one of the best 3-cylinder motors out there, you will be reminded of its presence by the lawn-mower-like noises it emits

From R$37,000 (US$18,500), Hyundai will offer a 1.6L 16v engine good for 128hp. It is the same engine as the one present in the Veloster sold in Brazil, but it has also been adapted to run on ethanol. With this trim level, you get the same content as in the 1.0 car, but ABS is standard.

By on September 23, 2012

Little known to many, Toyota’s first venture out of their home country was in Brazil. Over 50 years ago, they built factory here in which they manufactured a version of their Land Cruiser, called it Bandeirante and kept on building it, unchanged, for almost four decades. When the Brazilian market opened up (ever so slightly) in the 90s, Toyota was relatively quick and soon had a second factory in which they built their Corolla. That was it. Until the Etios arrived.

Convinced by recent policy changes in Brazil that make the life of a car importer miserable unless factories are built on Brazilian soil, Toyota built a new plant near Sao Paulo, and started to crank out its BRIC-car, the Etios. The Etios was originally launched in the eye of BRIC, in India. Now, the car comes to the B. In Brazil, the Etios is aimed at the very heart of the market, the compact car. It already causes heart palpitations. (Read More…)

By on August 19, 2012

Brazil was once VW’s home away from home. Here, it felt loved and welcome. It controlled 50 percent of the market. Time passed. An Italian upstart arrived and eventually robbed it of first place by being more agile. VW meanwhile grew bigger appetites and found a new home in China.  Brazil, the ex-favorite, the dark, mysterious, tropical, big bosomed former love affair relies on the crumbs that fall off the table of the slanted-eye enchantress. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2012

 

I would like to take this opportunity, and also on behalf of Fiat, express my sincere gratitude to the American taxpayer. (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2012

Pressured by the Franco-Romanian Renault-Dacia Duster, Ford is using a pre-launch marketing gimmick to dust drum up interest in their newest offering in Brazil. The cute-ute is called EcoSport. Due to my duty to TTAC readers everywhere, I pledged to pay a deposit of US$2,500 in order to get a crack at the first 2,500 cars that will grace our streets.

Of course, I don’t intend to give them my hard-earned money. (They may count me as a hand-raiser.) (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2012

According to Brazilian enthusiast site bestcars.com.br, Fiat will start selling the 500 L in Europe this month. Deliveries will begin in October. The good news is that the minivan will be available in 100 countries, including the good old USA. Fiat took the opportunity to supply more info on the first stem off its iconic Cinquecento that will spawn a slew of cars including the 500 X. Read on to find out the details. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2012

GM do Brasil has been on a roll recently. While the early 00s saw GM running hard to get nowhere, the new decade has brought on some good news for the embattled, tired, old General. They are proving, at least in Brazil, that they still have some cartridges to burn.

To wit, the all-new, brand-new, super-new, ok, enough with all the new. A minivan: The Spin. Cool name, though somehow its significance will be lost on most Brazilians. The Spin seats 5 or 7, and in our tax-break-fueled-heated-up market, it’s sure to become a hot one. Don’t worry, be happy and buy now. Following the trail burned by our beloved technocrats in Brasília, Brazilians, and soon I’m sure, many hermanos, will be able to take the latest and the greatest from Detroit via São Caetano do Sul for, well, a spin. That is, if you have roughly 22 thousand greenbacks in your pocket, considering that now the dollar begets about 2 of our reais. (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2012

Unlike Mexico, that other Latin American economic juggernaut, Brazil (sorry Argentina), has not really had a lot of success exporting cars to North America. Now, that is all about to change.  Picture a Dodge cross and new back-lights and there you have it. Coming soon to a dealer near you. Yes, this Fiat will be outfitted as a Dodge and sold in all fine Chrysler-Dodge stores all over America and Canada.

(Read More…)

By on May 30, 2012


Brazil has historically been a difficult place to do business. The government keeps foreigners out as best as it can, and that extends to vehicle importers as well. In the car business, you are welcome to market your wares as long as you build locally. Imported cars have always been expensive, and the costs are set to rise, as the government has taken new measures that affect both local makers and importers. Read this very closely before you ask for import restrictions into your country. (Read More…)

By on May 26, 2012

As evidenced in Matt Gasnier’s most excellent series, the Renault/Dacia/Logan/Sandero/Duster/Lodgy is making waves throughout the world. In a way, the multiple personality car is even present in North America, albeit under a Japanese kimono. Unbeknownst to most up there, when they buy a Nissan Versa, what they are getting is some solid Franco-Romanian engineering with some Japanese know-how thrown in for good measure.

But what is a Logan? And why is it so important? (Read More…)

By on April 18, 2012

The Beijing Car Show is the one to watch for Brazilian car aficionados. Though we drool and slobber over at what’s shown at NAIAS or in Paris, Brazilians must look elsewhere to see what’s coming to local showrooms. The New Delhi car show had some cars of interest, now it’s the Beijing show a Brazilian must watch.

Case in point, the all-new JAC SII. (Read More…)

By on April 13, 2012

Welcome to New Or Used Without Borders, where the international team of TTAC answers your intercontinental car shopping questions.

Robstar asks:

My wife & I are about to have our first child in December.  We visit Brazil (SJC, SP) typically twice per year to see my wife’s relatives. Usually each trip lasts about a month (I’m only there the last week or two).  My wife has talked to me about possibly buying a car in Brazil because of our frequent travel there and our need to get around with an infant/toddler.  During past visits, I drove or we took the bus together.  Now that she’ll be taking an infant with her, she wants to be able to drive herself when I’m not there.  We are also worried about safety using public transportation — A single mother & a baby/infant who may speak English at an inopportune time may appear to be an easy target for criminals.  In any case, our current transportation options won’t work because they are not automatic & not as safe in an accident as we’d like.

Our current options are:

1974 (IIRC) VW Beetle with a 4 speed, 1.5L, 40′ish hp.  — Not in any way safe enough for the baby.

2004? 2005? VW Polo, 5-speed, 1.8L.  Not sure on HP but I’d guess it’s 90′ish ? 100?  — 5 speed.

We are trying to decide if we want to buy new, or have my father-in-law help us look for something used.  I’ve asked my wife about renting, but it’s not safe to leave an unsecured car outside overnight (and my in laws don’t have a gate secured spot in their house for a third car).  I don’t think my brother-in-law would be opposed to an upgrade of his Beetle, so that is what we’ll most likely do.

 Here are our requirements in order of need … (Listed in the response.)

Marcelo answers from Brazil: (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2012

Brazil provides the first letter of BRIC. Without the BRICs, we’d have tombstones for carmakers. How are we keeping the global auto business alive, down here in the Southern Cone? Follow me as I give you the highlights. (Read More…)

By on March 31, 2012

Pocket rocket lovers who happen to live in Belgium, France, Spain, or Switzerland,rejoice! According to Brazilian enthusiast site webmotors.com.br, Renault is using to good effect its Formula 1 presence and is launching the Renault Clio R.S. Red Bull Racing RB7 in  the aforementioned markets. Wow! What a mouthful for a compact car! And yes, you read right, Clio and Red Bull in the same name! (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2012

Following up on the good news of sister Chrysler in America, Fiat do Brasil has some good news of their own to send embattled Turin’s way. As of March 20, the Uno has officially pushed ahead of the VW Gol and has taken the sales crown in Brazil. According to Brazilian car site webmotors.com.br, this is the first time the Uno has been ahead of the Gol for an extended period of time. Hitherto, the Uno had threatened VW’s pride and joy a month or another, then lagged behind.

But wait, there’s more! (Read More…)

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  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
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