Brazilian light-vehicle registrations grow 14.6% y/y in February

Brazil's light-vehicle registrations increased by 14.6% year on year (y/y) in February, according to initial registration data from the National Federation of Motor Vehicle Distributors (Federacio Nacional da Distribuicao de Veiculos Automotores: Fenabrave). The industry group reported registrations of 151,691 light vehicles in February, compared with 132,391 units in the same month of 2017. However, light-vehicle registrations last month were down compared with January's level, slipping 14.0% month on month. Registrations of medium and heavy commercial vehicles (MHCVs) and buses saw a gain of 60.1% y/y in February, after closing 2017 up 5.1%. February saw 5,215 units being sold, compared with 3,258 units in the same month of 2017. The Selic interest rate was cut for the first time in four years in mid-October 2016 (from 14.25% to 14.0%), and rate cuts have continued, with the most recent drop to 6.75% in February 2018. Regarding automakers' results, best-seller General Motors (GM) saw its light-vehicle market share at 18.1% in February, down from 19.3% in January. Volkswagen (VW) remained ahead of Fiat in the rankings for a second month, with 14.7% share. Fiat's share fell to 11.4% in February, from 13.3% in January, and down from the 13.4% at end-2017. Ford saw its market share slip slightly to 9.1%, and it lost fourth position to Hyundai (9.4%). Following Ford were Toyota (8.1%) and Renault (7.8%) in February's shares. Fenabrave reports that the Chevrolet Onix remained the best-selling passenger car, with 12,797 units registered in February. The Fiat Toro and Strada pick-up trucks swapped first position in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) category over the course of 2017, with the Strada holding the lead at the end of the year and keeping it over the first two months of 2018, with 4,137 units registered in February. Significance: Brazil's automotive market struggled during 2014–16 with the country's economy marred by recession, lack of credit availability, and high unemployment. However, both the light- and medium/heavy-duty vehicle markets returned a positive result in 2017, and 2018 has started off strongly. Some of this strength may ultimately be attributable to a delay in replacing the IPI tax, which is not resolved at the time of writing. Also contributing to light-vehicle sales improvements has been increased credit availability. IHS Markit forecasts a 12.8% light-vehicle sales increase in Brazil in 2018, which will follow the 9.4% gain in 2017 and a much better position than the 19.9% decline in 2016. IHS Markit's forward projections for Brazil now reflect more of a V-shaped recovery as a result of increasing funds for vehicle financing. IHS Markit projects sales gains through 2024, including the increase in 2018. We will provide a full report of sales, export, and production data based on the report from Brazil's National Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (Associação Nacional dos Fabricantes de Veículos Automotores: Anfavea) when the figures become available.

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