GM and Ford will maintain their investment plans in Brazil according to the local Estado newswire.

According to Estado, GM Vice President Jose Pinheiro Neto said the company has not changed its 2008 plan to invest US$1bn until 2012.

The news agency also said that Ford will pump around US$1.57bn into its manufacturing facilities in both Brazil and Argentina between now and 2012.

GM's Neto said the company was not going to send dividends back to Detroit this year 'in order to maintain its investment targets for the next four years', the report added.

Efforts by the Brazilian government to stimulate the country's car market seem to have had a positive effect with new registrations reaching 668,314 units in the first quarter of 2009, up 3.14% from the same period of 2008.

Automakers association Anfavea has finally made its first projection for 2009 with the excise tax cut until 30 June in mind.

President Jackson Schneider rated it "realistic": a 4% sales drop to 2.71m light and heavy vehicles (2008: 2.84m); production 11% lower at 2.86m units (versus 3.2m in 2008).

Production will be hit as exports fall 32% to just over 500,000 units corresponding to revenue off 39% to US$8.5bn.

Schneider told just-auto: "If this forecast is achieved, it will be one of the best auto industry results worldwide in 2009, perhaps running second only to China which is also bound to grow."