According to Bloomberg, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn claimed that “Brazil is very much a cornerstone” in VW’s push to become the world’s largest car maker by 2018.
Herr Winterkorn is in São Paulo for the largest and most important Auto Show in Latin America. Striving to make the most of this unique opportunity, the Brazilian press was all over VW’s CEO. He didn’t disappoint. He announced investments of 4.4 billion dollars to expand VW’s model line and modernize their factories in Brazil until 2016.
Volkswagen will roll out its new NFS, MQB, MLB and MSB kit architectures to Brazil, Volkswagen do Brasil chief Thomas Schmall told Automobilwoche [sub]. The first representative will likely be a very small SUV, based on the UP! NFS (New Small Familiy) architecture.
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.
“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.
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 >
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 >
Last month, Toyota invited the Japanese press to join them for “the opening ceremony for its new plant in Brazil on August 9,” a three day event in and around Sao Paulo. The excitement lowered considerably as the Fourth Estate ventured to the bottom of the invitation. There it said that “flight costs to and from Brazil and all accommodation costs will need to be covered by participants themselves.” That’s Toyota as we know and love it. If you have dreams of lavish press jaunts, don’t dream them in Japan. The event happened yesterday, without yours truly. The Nikkei [sub] hopefully sent its local stringer, and it reports what we know anyway: “Toyota Motor Corp. will kick off production of a strategic small car aimed at the emerging-market middle class next month at a new plant in Brazil.” And the new car is the Etios. Read More >
After nine hours of talks with the union, and under considerable pressure from the Brazilian government, GM backed off from job cuts at its São José dos Campos factory near São Paulo. The politically sensitive decision (in Brazil and at home) to eliminate as many as 1,840 jobs was delayed until November. Read More >
GM has shut down all of its eight Brazilian production units near Sao Paulo “to protect the physical integrity of its workers,” the Washington Post says. It appears to be an euphemism that refers to union violence. Reuters has it slightly different and says that production has been shut down “for the day at one of its factories” in order to “not expose workers to possible incitement and provocation.” Read More >
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 >
Brazilians are unhappy with GM. GM is cutting capacity and jobs at a Brazilian plant. This made the Brazilian government unhappy, because it had cut taxes on domestically made cars, in exchange for manufacturers maintaining the size of their workforce. It also made unions unhappy. They voiced their displeasure on Monday by going on strike, Reuters says. Read More >
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 >