The wait has been long – nothing short of 26 consecutive months – but finally there is a year on year auto sales gain in Brazil!

March sales of 183,350 units – cars and light commercials that account for 95% of vehicle sales – were up 6.1% on March 2016. Yet first quarter sales still lagged 2016’s by 1.1%.

There really good news is about March’s average daily sales, a more precise indicator that compensates for seasonal distortions, which rose 8.3% versus February to 8,000 units (the historic peak was 2012’s average of 15,000 a day). This is healthy enough to suggest recovery this year. Improvement depends less on economic factors than political issues.

As for production, it also improved for a second consecutive month. March’s 234,700 output of cars, light and heavy commercials vehicles was 18.1% up on the 198,900 built in March 2016. First quarter production of 608,800 vehicles was 24% more than in Q1 2016. 

Even better, exports set a first quarter record with the 172,700 shipped 69,7% higher than in 2016’s first three months.

Volkswagen, the largest vehicle exporter from Brazil with over 3.5m units shipped so far, doubled (102%) exports this first quarter to 47,925 units from Q1 2016’s 23,650. VW alone accounted for roughly 28% of Brazilian auto industry exports in the first quarter.

Argentina and Mexico take more than 80% of Brazilian exports and both markets are doing better than last year.

Anfavea president Antônio Megale said: “March was a pretty good month yet, even with production reaching higher levels than in 2016, high excess capacity is hovering, something especially bothersome to automakers. We must wait the coming month’s performance for a clearer scenario.”

Analysis from just-auto‘s research database QUBEDepressed Brazilian market will disrupt technological advances