The year was 1995. The country: Brazil. A new Constitution had been proclaimed a few years before, and our fledgling democracy had survived a presidential impeachment. Society was growing up and demanding new, more transparent relations with big business. The car market was more open than it had been since the 1950’s, and due to the deluge of imported cars, that brief window would soon close. I was there, in the eye of a hurricane, looking to buy my very first car with my own money. All those factors made up the perfect storm, which conspired to pull me away from the car of my dreams.
The rumors have it that the new Ford Ka will be on sale as of March this year. Production of the old Ka has come to a close as the Zetec Rocam engines have also been terminated (and thus the old Brazil-market Fiesta is probably dead as well). At launch, the new Ka will come exclusively with a 1.5 Sigma engine and a 1.0, three cylinder, EcoBoost-based engine. Rumors have it that it will be the most powerful 1.0 engine in Brazil and will thus have to provide around 82 ponies.
Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne threw down the gauntlet for Jeep during an interview on Detroit’s WJR-AM at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, proclaiming that the Rubicon-rated brand will move 1 million units onto the trails and highways by the end of this year.
Three years ago, Ford unveiled the third-generation Focus to the excitement of American enthusiasts who thought the second-generation model lacked “zazz,” to say the least. Come 2015, the Focus will have a new face, and that’s only the beginning.
2014 may only be a day old, but it’s already shaping up to be a rough year for Hyundai and Kia as they prepare to increase global sales by just 4 percent this year, the lowest and bleakest forecast for the Korean duo since 2003.
On Tuesday, the Brazilian government said that tax breaks on cars will be slowly rolled back next year, according to a report by Reuters. The government has to make up for billions in lost revenue that has harmed Brazil’s finances this year and had previously announced that it was going to revive the industrial products tax, known as IPI, charged on cars and other manufactured goods. Though many analysts expected an immediate return to the former 7% tax on new cars, the government decided to phase the taxes in gradually, starting with an increase in January from 2% to 3%. Read More >
The Brazilian auto industry has been on edge for a week and a half, as the Economic Ministry announced that the mandate for airbags and ABS on all Brazilian cars in 2014 was “under review”. Citing worries over inflation (as car prices make up an infinitesimal part of that complex calculation) and the fact that auto sales were down, the Economic Ministry said that the 2014 adoption of the aforementioned equipment might not be in Brazil’s best interest.
If you live in Brazil and are pining away for a Jaguar or Land Rover, Tata Motors will open a factory for the luxury marques in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The importance of South America to Ford Motor Company’s plans can be seen from the fact that chairman Bill Ford went to Brazil to introduce the Ka Concept, an entry level hatchback for urban consumers in Brazil and other global markets, particularly developing countries. FoMoCo says that the car was developed by Ford Brazil. Of course, the Ka Concept is a concept car in name only and when the production Ka arrives next year it should be very close to what was revealed this week. It’s also very similar to the small sedan whose spy shots TTAC featured recently that our sources tell us will be the Ka sedan.
Speaking at a ceremony at Ford’s Northeast Industrial Complex in Camaçari, Bill Ford said, “Ford has a long history in Brazil, bringing development, jobs and growth to the region. As an integral part of our global growth strategy, we are committed to bringing world-class products to Brazil and to helping the region create global vehicles for the rest of the world.” Read More >
Recently, as to the attention given by TTAC to the spy shots of what might be or not a future Ford Ka sedan in southern Michigan, commenter Kenmore asked, “Has any other sad little runt of an econocar ever received so much attention on TTAC?”. Since you asked, I’ll offer up a brief pictorial explanation. Read More >
The Toronto Star is reporting that Ford Motor Co. will soon announce a ~$700US million investment in it’s Oakville, Ontario plant, where it assembles the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX midsize crossovers. According to Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper, $135 million of that will come from the Ontario and Canadian governments, which recently divested some of their bailout related shares in General Motors. The investment by Ford follows commitments made to the Canadian Auto Workers, now under the banner of Unifor, to add 600 jobs to the Oakville facility. Read More >
Call it a Microbus, Kombi, or Transporter, the Volkswagen Type II (the Beetle was the Type I) is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, motor vehicles in continuous production, having first appeared on the scene in 1950. It was based on a suggestion and sketch by Ben Pon, VW’s Dutch importer and a water-cooled version of the second generation bus is still being made and sold in Brazil. Pon knew that Europe, rebuilding after the destruction caused by World War II, needed inexpensive cargo haulers and small commercial vehicles. Pon’s sketch showed a boxy body mounted to the Type I’s platform frame. The Type II ended up being more successful than Pon could have imagined, but production is coming to an end with a run of 600 “Last Edition” Type II Kombis, as the vehicle is called in Brazil. Read More >
Derek’s recent article on the CUV “event horizon” seemed to have been misunderstood by some of the B&B. Derek’s fine analysis showed you how one type of car, the crossover, has left its usual stronghold of America and is now eclipsing other kinds of cars in other markets. His proof is the new Mercedes GLA which shows that now everybody wants in. I posit that the “event horizon” came somewhat earlier in the form of the Renault/Dacia Duster and that this phenomenon had been brewing for a while. My home country of Brazil is one place where crossovers have been steadily rising in popularity.
This week, the idea of Brazil’s cars being “unsafe” due to inferior construction has been gaining a lot of currency on the blogosphere after the Associated Press published a report on this topic. Very few outlets have anyone posted in Brazil to do any deeper digging, but TTAC does. Unfortunately, our man Marcelo de Vasconcellos is currently in exams right now (good luck, Senhor!) and was unable to write up an article refuting these claims. Still, Marcelo took the time out to talk to TTAC about the problems behind the article.