For the first time since its foundation in 1956, the national automakers association Anfavea will co-exist with a similar body.

This already exists to some extent, gathering together only full importers with no local manufacturing.

Originally called Abeiva, short for 'Brazilian association of motor vehicle importers', founded in 1991, its always been far from influential, despite having 29 members (compared with Anfavea’s 23 plus six tractor manufacturers).

All Abeiva members represented low-volume brands, with the exception of Kia, that range from Ferrari and Porsche to those with little market presence like China's Changan and Hafei.

Historically, when an Abeiva member started producing locally, it left to join Anfavea. With the surge of new automakers entering the country in the wake of the Inovar-Auto regime, the draining of the newer body was inevitable.

Yet, Anfavea follows specific, inflexible rules. Its presidency is held by executives of the country’s five oldest automakers by year of establishment, Ford, GM, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Fiat (in this order) in a rotating, triennial regime.

A motion led by Jaguar Land Rover plus Chinese firms JAC and Chery asked Abeiva to reform its statutes and admit automakers which would never be honoured with an active voice at Anfavea. These three members are currently building plants here, Chery will be the first to open in this first half of 2014.

The association was renamed Abeifa, the Brazilian association of motor vehicle importers and manufacturers. Nonetheless, Audi has switched from Abeifa to Anfavea. BMW has not decided which organisation to back yet but bets are on it migrating to Anfavea next September when its plant is ready.

This motion by new manufacturers has a more symbolic than practical meaning apparently. It will be hard for government officials to accept dealing with two bodies, one far less significant compared with the veteran Anfavea’s tradition and market power.

Sixty one different brands comprising light and heavy vehicles of all origins and purposes are currently sold in Brazil.

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