The Brazilian market for light and heavy vehicles recovered by 14.3% over the year’s third quarter.
Sales in September with two less working days than August, were 8.5% lower at 168,000 from 184,506 units.
In terms of daily sales, September’s 9,200 units topped 2002 volume and was the best daily average since November 2020.
Sales for the first nine months reached 1.503 million units, a 4.7% year on year fall from 1.577m YTD in 2021.
Manufacturers association Anfavea president Marcio Leite reiterated 2022 would not be worse than 2021 despite acknowledging the World Soccer Cup would negatively impact sales on days the national team plays.
“Our magic number is 2.140m units by year end. Since we sold 1,503,000 vehicles to the end of September, we need another 637,000.
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In the last quarter of 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, sales reached 684,000, more than we need to knock the 2022 goal out and symbolically grow 1%. There was a components shortage by then but the lack of semi-conductors still had not peaked. This number is a challenging one yet it is quite feasible.” said Leite.
In the first half there were 22 production halts due to semiconductor shortages compared to just two in September.
Third quarter production rose 11.6% quarter on quarter to 665,000 units.
From January to September Brazil production was up 6.3% to 1.756m units.
The increase was due to a boost in exports up 31% in the first nine months to 364,000 from 277,000 units.
Nonetheless, September exports fell 39% due basically to foreign currency problems in Argentina where US dollar reserves have reached a critically low level.
The neighbouring country is the largest foreign exports customer for Brazilian automakers and the outlook for this last quarter is unpredictable.
Last month Mercedes-Benz Caminhoes e Onibus (Lorries and Buses) announced it would outsource part of its production at the Sao Bernardo do Campo plant in Greater Sao Paulo City.
In total. 2,200 workers will be axed and another 1,400 will have not their temporary contracts renewed as of this coming December.
However, there is strong union opposition and negotiations are ongoing.
This factory was the brand’s first outside Germany. It was opened on 28 September, 1956 and has manufactured 1.2m lorries and 540,000 buses. It currently employs 6,000 in production and 9,000 in the whole company including the cab plant in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais state.
“We are assuring our business long term sustainability in Brazil,” a Mercedes-Benz statement said.