For nearly the last ten years, General Motors has been a third place contender in Brazil — consistently trailing competitors Fiat and VW. But the automaker is on a steady path to increasing its position in the country: GM’s May 2012 sales totaled 45,826 vehicles, a 37.6 percent increase compared to April 2012, and only 39 vehicles short of market leader Fiat (45,965 sales). Volkswagen, which has typically been stepping on the heels of Fiat, came in third with 45,664 sales, while Ford came in as a distant fourth with 19,474 (up 2.3 percent).
The results bode well for GM given that Brazil’s auto market has faced a plethora of challenges over the last few months, resulting in declining sales. At the heart of the slumping auto market is a shortage of credit due to a slumping economy and non-performing subprime auto loans — both issues that have been hot topics among government and finance officials.
Through May, General Motors — which markets the Chevrolet brand in Brazil — has sold 196,463 cars compared to 210,817 in 2011 compared to Fiat’s 224,163 and VW’s 223,323. Industry-wide, May production in Brazil was up 7.6 percent (from April) to 280,800 units, while car sales were up 11.5 percent to 287,500. Hiring remained flat, with a total of 144,961 workers employed — down 0.1 percent over April 2012, but up 1.9 percent from May 2011. For its part, General Motors has faced several strikes at its Brazil plants, the most recent of which was due to the discontinuation of the legacy Meriva and Zafira vans at São Jose dos Campos in favor of the new Spin MPV, which will be made at São Caetano do Sul.
The GM Authority Take
It’s nice to see The General top the sales charts around the world — a trend we expect to continue (if at an ever-quickening pace) as the automaker fully recovers from the bankruptcy and revamps its entire model line with much more competitive vehicles, some of which may even be market-specific, such as the Chevy Spin.