The Brazilian market’s capacity to rebound remains impressive but some automakers and their key trade group are somewhat at odds on the outlook for 2010.

A year ago, Jackson Schneider, president of Anfavea, the manufacturer’s association, declined to make any forecast for 2009, breaking a long term tradition.

Privately, a 30%-plus downturn was expected for the year just ending now.

“If we had disclosed those numbers, the response of the economic groups could have been nasty,” he recalled.

Anfavea waited until May to release its first estimates for 2009. Later on it revised them – upwards – and this month, again. As well as no doubts about a record breaking sales year, production will also set a record.

It is likely production (despite a severe export slump) will reach 3.2m and exceed sales by 100,000 units.

Optimism prevails for 2010. Anfavea expects almost aligned sales and production of 3.4m light and heavy units (9.3% and 5.4% growth, respectively). It also expects exports to rise 13% to 530,000 units.

But CEOs at Fiat, Ford, GM and Volkswagen told just-auto they were more cautious. They believe sales brought forward by tax incentives in 2009 will limit 2010 growth and predict rises between 3% and 5%, about half Anfavea’s estimate.

Renault’s CEO Jean-Michel Jalinier in fact sees zero growth next year.

Fernando Calmon