Brazil auto production jumps 14.2% in July from June

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Automobile production in Brazil jumped 14.2% and sales grew 9.1% in July from June, the best performance for the month since 2014, the national automakers’ association Anfavea said on Tuesday.

Brazil’s auto industry is recovering from a crushing depression that cost the country its place as one of the world’s five biggest auto markets, even as automakers are still struggling with low margins.

Auto exports to depressed Argentina, Brazil’s largest foreign destination for its cars, are down 38.4% so far in 2019 compared to a year ago, Anfavea said.

Trade rules in Brazil are changing under a right-wing government that has promised to open up one of the world’s largest but most closed economies. Automakers are figuring out what to do following an initial trade deal with the European Union, as well as changes in trade rules with Mexico, both of which could usher a flood of foreign vehicles into the country.

Anfavea president Luiz Carlos Moraes told reporters on Tuesday that 87.9% of Brazil’s auto market is fulfilled with domestically-made cars.

He said Brazil already has a lot of competition, but said that automakers struggle with high and complex taxes that Anfavea is pushing to change.

Automakers in Brazil produced some 266,400 new cars and trucks last month, while new vehicle sales totaled 243,600 vehicles, according to Anfavea data.

Compared to a year ago, auto output rose 8.4% percent and sales climbed 12%.

Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski