This is the fifth and last installment of the Pictorial History of the Brazilian Car, a five part series, brought to you by our boy in Brazil, Marcelo de Vasconcellos. Part one one took you back to the beginnings, part two did let you revisit the turbulent 60s. Part three took your to Brazil’s malaise years, with nothing more than facelifts. Part four took you to a Brazil of change. The fifth and last part finally brings you to the past decade.
The Workers’ Party finally elected their eternal candidate, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, as President. Before he took power, there was some panic and almost 5 reais were necessary to buy a dollar. Inflation seemed to be back.
Venturing into part four of the Pictorial History of the Brazilian Car, a five part series, brought to you by our boy in Brazil, Marcelo de Vasconcellos, we finally get into times where most of our readers were alive. Part one one took you back to the beginnings, part two did let you revisit the turbulent 60s. Part three took your to Brazil’s malaise years, with nothing more than facelifts. This part takes you to …
This is part three of the Pictorial History of the Brazilian Car, a five part series, brought to you by our boy in Brazil, Marcelo de Vasconcellos. Part one one took you back to the beginnings, part two did let you revisit the turbulent 60s. This part takes you to …
For countries up north, this was the end of the malaise and the beginning of party time. In Brazil, it was the decade of doom and gloom. Politically, the military regime was running out of steam. Gradual democratization was unavoidable. Culturally, the country exploded. Censorship, which had marked the 70s, disappeared. Playboy showed full frontal (female) nudity to grateful teenage boys and men. Brazilian rock came into its own. Economically, the country tried hard, but ran hard to stay in the same place. This decade is often referred to as the lost decade. Foreign debt was the overriding problem. The dollar became king. Inflation was reaching hyper mode. People didn’t have money. Smaller and smaller cars took a bigger and bigger piece of the sales pie.
This is part two of the Pictorial History of the Brazilian Car, a five part series, brought to you by our boy in Brazil, Marcelo de Vasconcellos. Part one one took you back to Brazil’s Stone age (WW II and thereafter.) This part takes you to …The 60s
The 50s were the golden era of Rio. The 60s marked the rise of São Paulo. Rio: sun, fun, beach and romance. São Paulo: drizzle, dirt, work and gray.
This Pictorial History of the Brazilian Car has been graciously made available by our man in Brazil, Marcelo de Vasconcellos. This is part one of a five part series.
When writing about Brazil and the Brazilian car industry, many of times it has been pointed out to me that made of the statements I made were very broad and didn’t take into account the many nuances of our automotive history. Specifically, the statement that Brazil has done little but take old stamping presses from corporate HQs and produced technically inferior cars has proven to provoke repercussions. So, in order to correct some of that, I’ve been inspired by your comments to write a brief history of the Brazilian car industry. Happy reading for a beautiful sunny, summer morning (well at least from my little corner of the world)! Hopefully, you will also get a better hang of what the hell I’m always going on about!
Brazil was a little, isolated, largely agricultural country back then.
In the 80s, there were just 4 car brands in Brazil, all domesticated animals, carrying familiar names such as Volkswagen, Fiat, Chevrolet, and Ford. The luxury car at that time, for which we had the privilege of paying over US$50,000, was the (modernized, but nonetheless a 1960s Opel Rekord) Chevy Opala. Then, the 90s came along and bang, the market was blown wide open.
2010 was the best year ever for the auto industry in Brazil! Controversy as to the exact numbers aside (see comments here). The difference in numbers is due to whether or not you count trucks and other “heavy” commercial vehicles (like buses). Taking into consideration just cars, Bertel’s initial numbers were correct. Brazil grew in 2010 10% and not 11% (just cars, “light” trucks and vans). 361,197 vehicles is the official tally for December 2010 for a grand total of 3,515,120 (consolidating Brazil as the world’s fourth largest car market – in sales) on the year. That’s a whopping 30 percent better than December of last year. Reason to celebrate an extraordinary finish for a very good year considering all the difficulties, right? Well, well-known Brazilian car journo, Joel Leite, writing for Brazilian web giant UOL crashes the party.
Though the final numbers are not quite in yet, according to well-respected Brazilian car market journalist Joel Leite, writing for Brazilian car site webmotors.com.br, the big losers in 2010 are clear. I for one am quite shocked. Of all makers and importers in Brazil, only four lost share. The rest were all able to keep up with market growth and even gain share. Ready? Brazil’s losers are …
Fiat, Volkswagen, Toyota and Honda.
Global alliances between humongous corporate entities are always intimidating and mostly ill-performing. Oftentimes they just don’t work (née Daimler-Chrysler). Other times we just don’t see the point (Ford and various ex-PAG members or GM-Saab). The Renault-Nissan Alliance, who-would-have-believed-it is maybe, just maybe, the most successful of the lot. As TTAC itself has reported earlier, the French car known as the Nissan Tiida is now America’s best-selling compact car. In Brazil, Nissan has just sprinkled some of its Nippo-fairy-wand-dust on Renault’s latest gambit in the relatively small, but very profitable executive level segment in Brazil.
Now, let’s clarify a bit.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if a man went out in the streets, throwing money in the air? Handing money out to passer-bys? Well Nissan decided to find out and hired an actor to do just that. It has created quite a ruckus! In more ways than one …
Peugeot has been all downhill recently in Brazil. Despite a relatively good showing in the São Paulo Car Show, its Brazilians offerings have been nothing to write home about. Having carved out a solid sixth place slot in sales (and sometimes threatening Renault’s fifth place) when it first got to Brazil, it has been recently surpassed by the likes of Toyota, Honda and even Hyundai. However, with the all-new (for Brazil) 3008, which was launched in Europe in 2009, Peugeot is asking its Brazilians customers: Are you ready to give up your false-jeep pretensions and give a more minivan-looking crossover a chance?
Walking, struggling, fighting through the São Paulo car show put me into a somber mood. I can’t help it. With a baby on the way, a new President of the country and seeing the cars I’m seeing, I can’t help but think about the future. I’m thinking the party is over. For most “domestic” car makers that is.
First off it’s a car show. But they make it awfully hard for car drivers! Traffic to get there is unbearable. Parking is inadequate and expensive. The show’s organizers do recommend getting there by public transportation, but I’d expect a modicum of car-friendliness! There is none. Paradoxes… Follow me …
GM is the market leader in the United States. Volkswagen has Europe. Toyota has Australia and Japan. Fiat has…. Brazil? That’s right. Fiat is the number one in Brazil. Brazilians do love a good Fiat. But with Volkswagen’s global ambitions, that number one position in Brazil isn’t safe for Fiat. Volkswagen is number 2 there and if it one thing Volkswagen doesn’t like, it’s playing second fiddle. This is why Fiat is going on the offensive.
While in August it was tudo azul, September brought some clouds to the previously céu de brigadeiro. Sails dropped 1.75 percent on the month (falling to 291,409 vehicles sold). This is the first time this has happened since May. According to Fenabrave’s President Sérgio Reze (in declarations to Brazilian communications giant Globo’s news portal g1.com) this was due to September having one less sales day than August. As giant Brazilian web provider UOL points out, the silver lining in the clouds is that on the year the market is still up by 7.12 percent (good for a grand total of 2,368,932 sales).