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Brazil 1996: Fiat launches Palio to challenge Gol domination

Fiat Palio in Quatro Rodas, 1996

The VW Gol has been dominating the Brazilian market for nearly 10 years, its reign only interrupted by the Fiat Uno in 1994. However the Fiat Uno is now 13-years old, so Fiat orchestrated its biggest launch in Brazil early in the year when it launched the Palio with for firm objective to become Fiat’s first world car and dislodge the Gol from its Brazilian throne. It would become the Gol’s only true challenger in Brazil over the next 15 years! More on the Fiat Palio here.

The Fiat Palio first appeared in the Brazilian rankings in April 1996 when it sold 2,439 units (#10). It quickly climbed the ranking, selling 6,428 units in May (#4), 10,478 in June (still #4) and 20,367 in July (#2), peaking at 26,860 in November. The Palio would however have to wait until late 1997 to reach the monthly #1 spot for the first time.

In the meantime, the VW Gol managed to pass the 30,000 monthly sales mark for the very first time in Brazil in May 1996 at 31,650. It would pass this mark again 5 more times during the year, peaking at 34,767, its best ever figure to date, in August.

Before the arrival of the Palio, the Fiat Uno, still #2 over the full year at 203,249 sales, lodges some impressive numbers, probably boosted by generous offers to clear stocks: 27,589 sales in March, 26,126 in May and 26,079 in June. The Chevrolet Corsa takes the 3rd spot at 190,462 sales and the Ford Escort is #5 at 60,712 units.

Full Top 20 Ranking Table, 1996 Gol-Palio sales comparo and vintage magazine covers and articles below.

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