By on May 14, 2010

Brazil beats America! Over at well-known Brazilian communications giant Globo, they are reporting that little ole Brazil has overcome big ole USA in car production and has taken 5th place worldwide. Can this be true? It depends on how you look at the numbers…

With a total production of 2,576,628 passenger cars in 2009, Brazil took the #5 rank, leaving the US (which produced 2,249,061) in the #6 slot. America’s weak number can be blamed on the crisis, its dependence on truck and SUV sales, and the fact that a lot of the “American” cars are made in Mexico or Canada. Most of all, the crummy showing can be blamed on the fact that these are production statistics. A country that imports a lot looks bad on that list. Countries like Japan, Germany, or South Korea, which had an anemic home market, but export a lot, look better on the list than back home. Trucks, SUVs and minivans count in most countries as “commercial” vehicles. The U.S.A. had to invent the “light vehicle” category to avoid looking like a third world country.

According to Anfavea (the Brazilian car makers association) this production number, though record, is just the beginning. Brazil already is the world’s 4th largest consumer of cars. There are a lot of people in Brazil without cars. There is a lot of room to grow.

Some numbers for your perusing pleasure. (All as per OICA – International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers – they can be sorted by clicking the column header.)

Total production of passenger cars in 2009

1 – China 10.383.831
2 – Japan 6.862.161
3 – Germany 4.964.523
4 – South Korea 3.158.417
5 – Brazil 2.576.628
6 – USA 2.249.061

Total production of “commercial” vehicles in 2009:

1 – USA 3.462.762
2 – China 3.407.163
3 – Japan 1.072.355
4 – Canada 667.288
5 – Thailand 663.055
6 – Mexico 617.821
7 – Brazil 605.989

Combined production number of motor vehicles in 2009:

1 – China 13.790.994
2 – Japan 7.934.516
3 – USA 5.711.823
4 – Germany 5.209.857
5 – South Korea 3.512.926
6 – Brazil 3.182.617

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8 Comments on “Holy Moses! Even Brazil beats USA!...”

  • avatar

    That reminds me: Things will get REAL interesting when OICA comes out with their production numbers by manufacturer. Hasn’t happened yet, and won’t happen for a few months. Expect a lot of creative accounting, especially with minority interests in China etc.

    While most of the majors have announced 2009 global production numbers, I can’t find anything from ford and GM. Anybody have a clue?

  • avatar

    Wow, Germany looks pathetic when it comes to commercial vehicles..

    GM and Ford produce their Van’s for Europe in the UK and Spain.
    Volkswagen builds Van’s in Germany and Poland.
    Germany produces no Pickups what so ever.

    2009 was a Horrible year for Trucks Germany’s Mercedes-Benz and MAN Trucks are down 60+ percent!
    Trucks are down 72 percent for all EU Country’s

    The Truck numbers give us a glimpse of how the car numbers would have looked if there had been no “Abwrackprämie”.

  • avatar

    Do any of the SUVs and “(sub)urban cowboy” trucks qualify as commercial in these counts?

    • 0 avatar

      From what I undestand, in Brazil, it depends on the weight of the car and/or how many people it carries (to be considered a van or bus). So if it passes a certain wight or carries more than 7 passegers, you have to have special licenses to drive them. And they are not considered “light commercial vehicles”.

      Dodge’s Ram and Ford’s 350 are counted as commercial vehicles, not light. SO you even have to have the truck driver’s license to drive them. They are not counted as “light commercial vehicles”. But a Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux are light commercial vehicles. Plus, oddly, minivans like Chrysler’s are just considered passenger cars.

      I know, semantics, semantics.

  • avatar

    The countries where one can expect demand to be strong (i.e., lots of people who don’t own cars at all and a growing “middle” class) are:

    –the same countries where labor is cheap

    –places where environmental policies for manufacturing and natural resource extraction are weak

    This is merely a preview of coming attractions.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t consider environmental licensing something weak in Brazil. In fact, its become a huge cost to business and as such, will become an issue in the forthcoming presidential elections. Against: hinders the development of the country, costs too much, are too strict, make demands not related to the business per se (for example, to be able to build another nuclear reactor at the plant in Angra dos Reis, the company had to select, train and pay for reangers in a neighboring natural preserve). For: protects the environment, sustainable growth, etc.

  • avatar

    Does that thing count CKD operations or only “factories”

    Venezuela doesn’t even appear.

    The Aussies could use more production. AFAIK they sell about 1M cars/year

    And the US is starting to look like a 3rd world country.

  • avatar

    oh what an amazing flick that was! Reminds me a bit of the Bergkamp’s dance

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