Brazil auto sales up but output down in 2012

Sao Paulo — Auto sales in Brazil rose 4.9 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year but production fell 1.5 percent, the first decline in the past 10 years, industry data showed Friday.

“In general it was a positive year although we experienced many difficulties. The sector showed major growth, undoubtedly with lower profitability but with prospects of continued growth next year,” said Cledorvino Bellini, president of the National Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (ANFAVEA).

He told a press conference that sales got a boost from measures adopted by the government to stimulate sluggish economic growth, including a reduction of taxes on industrialized goods.

Brazil boasts the world’s fourth largest car market after the United States, China and Japan.

Meanwhile the Central Bank has cut its inter-bank lending rates to boost growth and consumption in this country of 194 million.

ANFAVEA said 3.8 million units were sold this year, up from 3.6 million in 2011 while production was projected to fall from 3.4 million last year to 3.3 million in 2012.

Bellini explained the decline saying Brazil’s production is for both the domestic market, which rose, and for exports, which failed to expand.