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Brazil Auto Industry Seeing Modest Gains

November 16, 2016

With the opening of the Sao Paulo Auto Show this week, forecasts for growth in the auto industry remain modest, according to a Reuters report.

Most automotive executives said the projected end of Brazil's grinding recession next year would allow for single-digit market growth - the first sales upturn in five years. More than half of that capacity in Brazil now lies idle, according to the report.

The most aggressive forecasts for growth came from brands positioned to capture a slice of the growing sport utility vehicle segment, especially compacts and crossovers, according to Reuters.

The Jeep division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI) aims to sell 90,000 vehicles in Brazil next year, up from 60,000 this year, as it adds domestic production of the Compass, according to Latin America director Sergio Ferreira, Reuters reported.

SUV sales are likely to grow to more than 17% of the Brazilian market next year, Ferreira said, up from 15% this year. That is more than twice the 7% growth seen in 2012, before Jeep built a plant in northeastern Brazil, according to the report.

The most upbeat outlook for the market came from General Motors Co, whose Chevrolet brand passed Fiat this year as the best-selling in Brazil for the first time in over a decade, according to the report.

GM, which is bringing its Tracker SUV to Brazil, expects Brazilians to buy 2.4 million new cars and light trucks in 2017, up from around 2.1 million this year, said Carlos Zarlenga, the head of GM in Brazil, according to the report.

But Toyota Motor Corp, which tripled its market share in the crisis to 9%, has increased sales 1% this year and said on Tuesday it plans to increase them again by 1% next, according to the report.

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