* See the Top 20 best-selling brands and Top 130 models by clicking on the title *
The word crisis is adequate: Brazilian new car sales are falling deeper and deeper into oblivion with September sales down an abysmal 32% year-on-year to just 192.610 registrations, meaning the year-to-date total is now down 22% on 2014 at 1.881.671 units. We have rarely seen such disparate evolutions in the Brazilian brands ranking. The “Brazil 3″ – in analogy to the Detroit 3 – continue to implode: each manufacturer sees its sales almost cut in half in the space of a year. Fiat is still leader but down 46% to 16.6% share, followed by Chevrolet (-45%) and Volkswagen (-42%). The next five carmakers all fit between 7 and 10% market share this month and are all gaining share – if not volume. Ford, helped by the success of the new Ka, is down ‘just’ 22% to hold 10.1% of Brazilian sales this month, distancing Hyundai (-22%), and Toyota (-18%). Honda is in a class of its own thanks to the locally-assembled HR-V, gaining 14% to snap at Renault’s heels with 13.808 sales and 7.2% share.
Then we have Jeep. Initiating Brazilian manufacturing may be the brand’s best worldwide idea yet: the Renegade continues to fly off dealerships across the country as quickly as cheap feijoada, the national food. A record 5.676 found a new home this month, meaning the Renegade outsold the once uncontested Brazilian leader, the VW Gol, which sold just 5.254 units in September! The Renegade represents 97% of Jeep sales in Brazil for the month and 90% so far in 2015, lifting the brand to an all-time high 9th and 12th places respectively. The last striking 2015 trend in Brazil is the insolent health of the luxury German brands: Mercedes is up an unbelievable 59% in September to break the 2.000 monthly sales milestone for the first time in its history, while Audi is up 34% to 1.433 units. If BMW is down 18% this ,month, it is up 2% year-to-date (Mercedes +44%, Audi +40%).
The September models ranking is even more surprising… Exactly one year ago I detailed the striking new trends that rippled through the Brazilian market. At the end of 2014 the Fiat Palio achieved the unthinkable, ending 19 consecutive years of VW Gol reign. The Brazilian models charts used to be utterly predictable, but in the space of 18 months everything changed. A freefalling market has redistributed the cards: the efforts of international behemoths such as Hyundai to design and assemble locally cars dedicated to the Brazilian consumer are now paying off, while decades of laziness from manufacturers that used to hold a quasi-monopoly on sales have ended.
Chevrolet is reaping the benefits of choosing to break the status quo with the Onix, the overall best-seller in Brazil for the 2nd month running despite sales down 24% to 10.212. For the first time the Onix is directly followed by the Hyundai HB20, down 10% to 8.889 sales and overtaking the Fiat Palio, down 45% to 8.761 but still #1 year-to-date at 92.087 deliveries (-28%) vs. 87.725 (-16%) for the Onix. The trend looks set to continue if we look at the past 12 months: both the Onix and HB20 have been losing significantly less ground than the Palio all through the year. Could the Palio domination, only just starting, already be coming to an end? Probably not in 2015, but 2016 will be a different story.
Just below the Palio we have another 2015 success story: the Ford Ka gains two spots on August to rank #4 overall and #5 year-to-date, the Renault Sandero maintains itself at a shiny 7th place thanks to the new generation while the Toyota Corolla is up two ranks to #8, to BSCB knowledge the legendary nameplate’s highest ever position in Brazil. The Honda HR-V brilliantly breaks into the Brazilian Top 10 for the very first time in September at #10 with 5.747 sales and 3% while the Jeep Renegade stops only 71 units short of doing so at #11 and 5.676 deliveries.
As detailed above, the Renegade outsells the Gol, itself down a devastating 58% to #12, hitting for the 2nd month in a row the lowest monthly ranking of its 35 year-career (the Gol launched in Brazil in 1980) – and the first time it ranks outside the Top 10. Finally, September marks the first appearance in the Brazilian sales charts of the all-new Renault Oroch, the pick-up variant of the Duster: it lands at #87 with 273 sales.
Full September 2015 Top 20 brands and Top 130 models below.