(Adds details from Anfavea report, context)
SAO PAULO, April 4 Automobile production and
sales in Brazil sank in March as tighter credit, higher prices
and weaker consumer confidence sparked caution at local
showrooms and assembly lines.
Production fell 3.6 percent in March from
February, according to data released on Friday by Brazilian
automaker association Anfavea. Automobile sales
dropped 7.1 percent in March after falling 17 percent in the
previous month, Anfavea said.
While part of the decline stemmed from the fewer number of
working days in the month due to the Carnival holiday, quarterly
figures show a weak start to the year for Brazil's auto
In the first quarter, accumulated production fell 8.4
percent from a year earlier to about 789,900 vehicles, while
sales fell 2.1 percent to about 812,800 cars, trucks and buses.
President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessors have kept
local car factories chugging along with tax breaks, cheap credit
and import barriers, but industrial stimulus is now fading just
as consumer confidence gives out.
While domestic sales retreat and exports plunge, Brazilian
factories are adding capacity of more than 1 million vehicles in
the next few years, battering the profitability of global
carmakers' local factories.
Brazil is the world's fourth-largest auto market and has
long been a source of cash for automakers such as Italy's Fiat
SpA, Germany's Volkswagen AG and U.S.-based
General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.
Fiat remained Brazil's top seller of cars and light trucks
in March at about 53,770 vehicles. GM took second place, selling
about 40,425, while Volkswagen sold 37,738. Ford followed with
Altogether, automakers in Brazil produced about 271,200 new
cars, trucks and buses last month, while sales totaled around
240,800 vehicles, Anfavea said.
(Reporting by Brad Haynes; Writing by Asher Levine; Editing by
Alden Bentley and Lisa Von Ahn)