By on April 10, 2011



China’s Chery has sent an intercontinental missile to pop the Brazilian market’s cherry. Though so for some glitch not available at the dealer in my city, the QQ is already on sale in São Paulo and Rio. To keep dealers well stocked (according to the Brazilian enthusiast site, another shipment of one thousand cars is on the high seas, and on a fast vector towards the Brazilian coast. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2011

Before you read this article, go back and read the History of the Gol (Partes Um and Dois). Really, go. Now that you’ve read this icon’s history you are better prepared to opine on what lies ahead. In celebration of the model’s 30th anniversary, Volkswagen do Brasil has launched a commemorative version of the Gol. VW is calling it “Vintage”.  What is it?  Simply the most expensive Gol in history. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2011

In this second and last installment of the two part series (Parte Um here,) we see the Gol fall from the height of sportiness to the profound depths of strippo hell. Like that Greek hero, it lived on to rise and shine again. However, it now finds itself in the battle of its life.

In 1999, in what VW exaggeratedly called the third generation, the Gol and the Parati were restyled. In a complete flip-flop from the previous door austerity policy, and just as incoherent, they are now available only in 4 doors. However, a basic 1.0 Gol called Special remained with the old design as an entry-level option (and a way to fight Fiat’s Uno). The Saveiro would be redesigned in 2000. Internally, the whole line benefited from a more Audi-esque instrument cluster with VW’s signature blue and red lighting. (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2011

History of the Volkswagen Gol (Parte Um) takes us from the BX project that gave rise to the Gol, to the late-90s when the Gol was almost unstoppable. However, chinks were being taken from both the Gol’s and VW’s armor. Which will become evident in Parte Dois, to follow tomorrow.

Many of you have asked me to do a history of the most sold car in the story of the Brazilian automobile. Be careful what you wish for. We will now (tach and) dwell on Volkswagen’s Gol history. The Gol is a singular car and very interesting. Many parallels can be drawn between its trajectory and VW’s. One thing is for sure: VW marches to the tone of the Gol in Brazil. As the Gol goes (or not), so does Volkswagen.

It all started back in the 70s. The Beetle was falling by the wayside and VW knew it. Trouble was, what car could substitute that old age favorite? (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2011

JAC do Brasil has officially announced the result of their first full week of sales. A surprising 1,139 Chinese cars changed hands! According to Brazilian car mag Quatro-Rodas, the company’s President in Brazil, Sérgio Habib, who had expected sales of 3,000 cars in April, is now saying, “Judging by our first week, we can now project more than 4,500 units.” Mr. Habib is well-known in Brazilian auto biz circles. He was responsible for Citroën’s successful launch in Brazil back in the 90s. So his opinion carries weight. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2011

On March 17, Honda revealed its new low-cost, emerging-market, sales-busting (they hope) Brio. Well, at least in name Honda is looking for a fight as the car’s name, in Italian, means something along the lines of “fighting spirit”. Will it have a fighting chance to make it in Brazil? (Read More…)

By on March 20, 2011

Last month, as reported by our ever so excellent Matt Gasnier, there was a minor earthquake in Brazil. For the first time in a blue moon, a car other than the VW Gol stood at the top of the heap. That car was the new Fiat Uno. In this ongoing battle to the death (mind you, the rivalry Fiat X Volkswagen is akin to the heated relations between Ford and Chevy of yore) new weapons and tactics are unveiled at all times. Fiat just disclosed their new guns: the new Uno two-door and the Sporting line. (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2011

Here we go again. For your perusal pleasure, you’ll find below JATO Dynamics Brazil survey of the biggest car brands in the world’s largest markets in 2010 (as reported by Brazilian car business site Mind you, we’re talking brands here. We are NOT talking manufacturer groups. So Nissan is definitely separated from Renault, Fiat’s numbers do not include Chrysler, nor does Chevrolet include Cadillac or for that matter Wuling. It’s a little different from OICA’s list. And, to me at least, very interesting. I believe this list reflects better how consumers view the individual brands. (Read More…)

By on March 4, 2011

As Ed asked just a couple of days ago, has the industry learned the lessons of 2008? What lessons are we talking about? In American GM’s case, Prez Dan Akerson himself said they hadn’t learned many. GM do Brazil though seems to be even more clueless. (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2011

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 00s

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. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2011

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 alivePart 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 …

The 90s (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2011

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 …

The 80s

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. (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2011

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. (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2011

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. (Read More…)

By on January 8, 2011

Recently, we did an article in which we predicted that the big losers in the Brazilian market, in perceptual terms, were Fiat, VW, Honda and Toyota. Well the numbers bore those predictions out. (Read More…)

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