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.
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.
Well, they better! Read More >
Lamborghini has become very bullish about the Indian market. The Italian automaker launched its second showroom in the country last week and also set up a national sales agency.
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 >
After making rather disparaging remarks about the management culture at Jaguar Land Rover, Tata CEO Ratan Tata is attempting to do some major damage control after he criticized the Brits in a May, 2011 interview with The Times.
Although the article is hidden behind a pay wall, Tata is widely quoted as saying that “…nobody is willing to go the extra mile, nobody.” At the Delhi Auto Show, Tata essentially backtracked on his comments, saying his fairly explicit comments were misunderstood.
Brazil is touted to soon eclipse Japan as the world’s third largest auto market, and there is at least one Japanese company that wants to make hay of this: Nissan. The Nikkei [sub] heard that Nissan plans a Brazilian factory which “will have an annual production capacity of roughly 200,000 units and will begin churning out strategic small cars in 2014.” Read More >
The 19th Indonesian International Motor Show (IIMS) is currently taking place at the JIExpo in the capital city, Jakarta, with almost all the world’s major automakers represented at a show which is quite simply bigger, bolder and brasher than ever before. There is a real spring in the step here as this huge, underdeveloped nation of 238 million people, the fourth-most populated in the world, stands poised to unlock the potential of its auto industry and become a major player on the world stage. Indonesia is standing at a crossroads and everyone is preparing to join the party.
According to Wards Auto, global auto sales through May hit 32.62 million units, up 6.0% from the year-ago number. But as the chart above shows, the rate of growth in global deliveries has slowed dramatically over the past year-and-a-half, falling below five percent the last several months. So what’s the problem? At this point, what isn’t the problem? The US and Japan have been hit hard by the Japanese tsunami, while the once-blistering-hot markets of China and India are shrinking and growing more slowly respectively.
Collectively, markets in the Asia/Pacific region accounted for 2.35 million vehicle deliveries, equating to 37% of world sales, the region’s lowest global market share since May 2009.
In the U.S. and Canada, sales of Japanese vehicles slipped precipitously below the rest of the market in May due to supply shortages, pulling North America’s year-over-year performance 2.3% below like-2010 on a volume basis, despite an 11.7% increase in Mexico.
So where’s the good news? After a forgettable few years, Europe is back… and South America is staying strong.
Overall deliveries in Europe rose 14.2% in May, to 1.85 million units. The resulting 29.2% share of world sales was the region’s highest take since June of last year…
Double-digit growth in many of South America’s smaller markets lifted regional sales in May 27.6%, compared with year-ago, for a 7.9% share of global deliveries – a 9-month high.
As you’ve read here many times, the drums against imports have been beating in Brasília for a long time. Now, the government is acting. It has opened up its little tragic bag of dirty tricks and is pulling the first, as it were, rabbit out. It also promises to dip into that bag again if this first rodent fails to bite. Moneyed (and not so moneyed Brazilian import buyers of Chinese cars) Brazilian consumers should run to the dealerships to get ‘em while they can. They should also put some money aside as the measure will also affect parts makers and consequently prices. Read More >
Hyundai and Kia are on a tear in the European market, having recently passed Toyota to become the best-selling Asian automaker in the EU (at 605,386 units, some 50k away from Daimler’s 2010 sales). And with its first Europe-centric product coming online, aimed at the heart of Europe’s 896k unit midsize segment, it hopes to keep the growth coming. In service of that goal, Hyundai is moving European production of its iX35 (Tucson) CUV from Kia’s plant in Zilina, Slovakia, to its own factory in Nosovice, Czech Republic, and adding an extra shift according to the WSJ. And unlike many of its European competitors, Hyundai is keeping its Euro-zone production capacity on the slim side, importing the forthcoming i40 from South Korea and the i10 from India, helping to keep the Korean automaker out of the overcapacity trap that plagues its competitors. Though Hyundai has good prospects for growth in Europe, production capacity expansions are being targeted at the developing markets that show more promise for growth.
Today, I saw a new, and so far the finest specimen of Japan’s new export products: A car factory. Remember when the Nikkei wrote about a new Toyota factory in the Miyagi Prefecture with a U-shaped assembly line where the assembly time is cut down to a third? Not only did they get it wrong. They missed the best part of the story: Budget car factories, ready for export. Of course, that’s not how it was sold to the natives.
Ohira is a little village near Sendai. Sendai is a town two Shinkansen hours north of Tokyo. The area is famous for its beef tongue, not the hottest export item. Ohira was known for exactly nothing until Toyota decided in 2007 to relocate their factory from Sagamihara, in the outskirts of Tokyo, up into the woods of Ohira.
A year later, the whole region went into shock: Read More >
While some analysts (who might be sitting on large quantities of GM and Ford stock) already dream of a sales rate between 15 and 16 million cars by year’s end in the U.S., CEOs of European carmakers are less gung ho. Read More >