Hola! First off, love the site, long time listener, first time caller. I recently had the amazing opportunity to act as chauffeur for my good Chilean friend Diego’s road trip through Patagonia. He had access to a little four banger 1998 Daihatsu Feroza (Rocky in the US) but did not know how to drive. So I gladly I wrestled this thing around Southern South America in a circuit of just over 3000 Kilometers that took us south on Chile’s famous Carretera Austral (dirt roads cutting through the Andes) and back north through Argentina’s Route 40 (very similar to route 66 in the US). (Read More…)
Excess capacity through 2016 will be a royal pain in the butt for Ford, hurting their margins on the all important small car segment.
Brazil detailed their new five-year national auto policy, which is meant to spur investment in new auto factories, locally sourced parts content and reduced vehicle prices.
With a 35% import tax on new cars, Argentina is already a touch market for foreign brands seeking to bring cars into the country. But the Argentinean government has just made it little bit harder by demanding that importers export an equal amount of Argentina-made goods for every car imported. As a result, Bloomberg reports that Porsche’s importer is exporting Malbec wines and olives, Mitsubishi’s importer is getting into the peanut export game, and Subaru’s representative is shipping chicken feed to Chile. BMW, which has had recent difficulties importing into Argentina, is focusing on its core business, exporting auto parts and upholstery… and a little processed rice to make up the difference. But why are these major manufacturers getting into all kinds of strange side businesses just because Argentina wants to improve its trade balance and foreign currency reserves? Simple: Argentina is South America’s second-largest economy, and it’s been growing at over 5% per year since 2007 (i.e. when other markets were shrinking). So if the government wants imports balanced with exports, well, Porsche’s importer is just going to have to get into the wine business, isn’t he?
Mazda has barely thrown off the shackles of Ford, but the Japanese already make their new freedom felt. In a way that won’t make Ford happy.
Mazda and their new largest shareholder Sumitomo will spend anywhere between $350m and $475m, and will open a plant in Mexico that will start making lots of little Mazdas as early as 2013. According to The Nikkei [sub], Mazda will build its bread & butter Mazda2 and Mazda3 models in Mexico. They will not be shipped north. The cars are destined for the Mexican, Brazilian, and other Central and South American markets. Mazda will initially make some 100,000 units there, later more. An engine plant is also in the cards.
This marks a series of firsts for Mazda. (Read More…)