Brazil 1st Quarter 2015: Once-in-a-decade market shifts occurring
Now within throwing distance of the overall #1 spot in Brazil: the Chevrolet Onix.
* See the Top 140 best-selling models and Top 20 brands by clicking on the title *
The Brazilian new car market is undergoing a severe correction in 2015, down 16% over the first quarter to 648,677 deliveries. The brands ranking is relatively stable but behaviours vary widely: the Top 3 carmakers all underperform a market already in freefall, adding up to a 52.9% share vs. for Fiat (-28%), Chevrolet (-18%) and Volkswagen (-22%) all see their market share thaw, adding up to 52.9% vs. 57.8% a year ago. Ford gains 1.3 point share to 10.4%, Hyundai almost 1 point to 7.5% while Toyota and Honda both gain 1.2 point to 6.3% and 5.1% respectively. Mercedes registers the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 20 at +14% to bypass BMW and become the #1 luxury brand in the market. This somewhat tranquil brands ranking is the tree that hides the forest.
Even though it is down drastically in volume terms, the Brazilian market has suddently matured in the past 12 months. New anti-pollution laws put in place in January 2014 have triggered snowballing changes in the market, first forcing the end of a few dated best-sellers then pushing consumers upmarket. The days of overpriced, indecently profitable pieces of junk sold as new cars to a Brazilian consumer with its hands tied are over. True competition and value for money are starting to show their ugly head in Brazil – scary.
New king: the Fiat Palio (Fire Way model pictured).
Examples: the Chevrolet Onix (up 4 spots on a year ago to #2 overall) and Hyundai HB20 (up 5 ranks to #4) are miles ahead of what Volkswagen and Fiat have been offering for decades (rehashes of basic designs and basic cars), and were engineered in Brazil for Brazilian consumers. Historic leaders are paying a dear price for their complacency. Just a year ago, all market analysts – included myself – genuinely thought the VW Gol would be untouchable as Brazil’s best-seller for many more years to come. It had held the top spot for 27 of the previous 28 years and the monthly pole position for that entire time bar a handful of months. Yet the unthinkable happened in 2014 and the Fiat Palio edged past the Gol for the title of best-selling car in Brazil. What we are witnessing so far in 2015 is even more unthinkable: the Gol has literally fallen apart, down 54% to 8th position, the nameplate’s lowest ever intermediate ranking in Brazil.
Pushing Ford past 10% market share: the Ka.
The Fox is now VW’s best-seller at #5, while Ford has hit the jackpot with the Ka, landing in 7th place above the Gol, even though it has awfully cannibalized the Fiesta Hatch (-60% to #18). Namplates in shape in 2015 include the Chevrolet Prisma (+13%), VW Up (+193%), Toyota Corolla (+65%), Honda Fit (+64%), Hyundai HB20S (+11%) and Nissan March (+64%). The Ford Ka sedan is most popular all-new nameplate at a brilliant #25, followed by the Fiat Weekend (#49) and Honda HR-V (#56). The Lifan X60 is by far the best-selling Chinese nameplate in Brazil at #83, lifting the brand into the overall Top 20 for the first time.
Full Q1 2015 Top 20 brands and Top 140 models vs. Full Q1 2014 figures below.