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It’s definitive. 2014 will remain a key year of change for the Brazilian new car market. Long-established trends are shifting fast and rippling through the entire market to affect each manufacturer present in the country in very different ways. It all started with new anti-pollution laws put in place at the start of the year that forced the end of VW Kombi, Fiat Uno Mille and Gol Power production among others. Social unrest in the lead to the Soccer World Cup and presidential elections as well as delicate economic times have also played a part in destabilising the Brazilian new car market still down 4% year-on-year in September to 282.519 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total down a harsh 9% at 2.404.032 units.
In the brands ranking, this month the Top 4 all lose ground, albeit at various degrees. Fiat slows down slightly more than the market at -6% to 21% share, Chevrolet slightly less at -2% to 17.6% while Volkswagen tumbles down 17% to 16.5% and is now about to be passed by Chevrolet year-to-date for the 2nd spot overall. Ford is not doing much better at -12% in spite of the arrival of the new Ka. The next 4 manufacturers all gain ground, and this has been consistent most of this year long: secondary carmakers catching up with the traditional leaders. Renault is up just 1% but this lifts the brand a notch above its year-to-date share at 7.4% and above Hyundai, up an impressive 21%, Toyota up 18% and Honda up 22% thanks to the Fit, note also Mitsubishi up 24% in 10th position.
Another significant trend in Brazil in 2014 is the strength of premium German brands. Mercedes delivers the highest year-on-year gain in the Top 15 at +29% to 1,264 sales, in fact only topped in the Top 20 by Audi up an astounding 64% to 1,068 units, not as impressive as it 78% increase year-to-date however. On top of Chery (+7%) and JAC imploding at -46% and after a brief passage of Hafei (#19 in December 2012) we now have a 4th Chinese manufacturer cracking the Brazilian brands Top 20:Lifan landing at #20 with 455 sales thanks to just two models: the X60 SUV and Foison mini pickup.
But the models ranking is the one that has been surprising us month after month his year and it just continues in September. Thanks to sales up 23% year-on-year, the Fiat Palio manages to stay in pole position for the 4th straight month and this for the first time since the nameplate originally launched in 1996. This also means the VW Gol has not been #1 for 4 months in a row (that was easy). This has in fact never happened before as far as I have continuous monthly data which is May 1988. So potentially we are looking at 1986 or even 1985 when the Chevrolet Monza led the way to find a similar situation. Historical times, indeed. If the Gol’s year-to-date pole position looked pretty safe from the Palio up until last month, it’s a different story now. The Palio gained 3.324 units on the Gol in September alone to bring its year-to-date deficit to just 5,964 erasable by mid-December at the current rate.
In second place the Fiat Strada simply delivers its highest ever monthly volume at 14.225 units (+27%), beating the 13.459 it clocked up last February. The Chevrolet Onix is up 44% on September 2013 to round up the podium for the third time in the past 4 months but most importantly the Onix outsells the Gol for the first time ever at 13,483 units vs. 12,583, down a horrendous 43%. A very symbolic win for General Motors as the Onix was designed and engineered to compete with the Gol full-frontal. The Hyundai HB20 is back up one spot to #5 whereas the Fiat Siena (-25%) and Uno (-40%) are in freefall. Excellent month for the Chevrolet Prisma up 55% to #9 and the VW Saveiro up 14% to #10. The new generation Ford Ka explodes onto the scene for its first full month of sales, up 75 ranks on August to #12 with 7,093 sales. One of the culprits for the Gol’s current misfortune can be found at #14: now exceptionally stable inside the Top 16 (seven straight months), the VW Up sells 6,272 units.
Brazil Top 5 segments – January to September 2014:
|Segment||YTD 14||/13||/12||YTD12||ms 14||ms 12|
|Veiculos de entrada||479,957||-20%||-34%||722,508||20%||27%|
Looking in a little more detail at the Top 5 most successful segments in the market, the picture is even clearer. ‘Entry vehicles’ (VW Gol, Up, Fiat Palio and Uno) accounted for 27% of the market only two years ago but are now down to just 20%. This is the only large segment to lose market share over the period, all the others gaining ground. Small hatches (Ford Fiesta, Hyundai HB20, Chevrolet Onix) go from 17% to 21%, indicating a slight premiumisation (or de-lowcostisation) of the Brazilian market, consumers upgrading from entry to small. Small sedans (Fiat Siena, Chevy Prisma, Hyundai HB20S) go from 12 to 15% share, SUV volumes are up 12% and go from 7 to 9% share while small pickups are up from 7 to 8% share.
Previous month: Brazil August 2014: Fiat Palio delivers an 18-year career first
One year ago: Brazil September 2013: Fiat Siena continues to impress
Full September 2014 Top 150 models and Top 20 brands Ranking Tables below.