By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian car industry had its most successful year to date in 2012, sales figures from the twelve months released by Brazil’s Federation of Vehicle Distribution, Fenabrave, have revealed. Some 3.8 million units were sold in 2012, an increase of 4.65 percent on 2011, itself a record year.
December saw just under 360,000 vehicles sold, up 3.1 percent on the same period in 2011. Italian car company Fiat led the sales figures with 23.1 percent of market share, followed by Volkswagen (21.1 percent), GM (17.7 percent) and Ford (8.9 percent).
Industry experts say that reduced or zeroed IPI (industrialized product tax) on various categories of vehicles had a big impact on this, given the tax break was set to end a number of times, but was repeatedly extended by the government, who also facilitated access to cheaper credit to encourage sales further still.
However, vans saw sales drop by around twenty percent and motorcycles by 15.6 percent, which has been blamed on price and incentives to buy cars instead.
One motorcycle salesperson told O Globo that 2012 had been the “worst year [he’d] ever seen” and that dealers were struggling to make ends meet. The industry has voiced its dismay at the fact that, unlike the case with cars and other light vehicles over the past year, credit has not been so readily available for those wishing to purchase motorcycles.
Lenders say this is because of the soaring rate of those defaulting on their debt repayments. Cars have seen extremely good sales figures in recent years as more Brazilians join the ranks of the country’s middle class and find themselves with greater spending power.
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