CSM’s latest South American light vehicle production setting is 2.28 million units for calendar year 2001 and 2.56 million units for 2002. During the first 6 months of 2001, total production in Brazil and Argentina reached 1.06 million vehicles, reflecting a growth of 12% from calendar year 2000. Brazilian OEMs showed a strong recovery over the last half-year, with a growth of 16% over 2000. However, the continental scenario for this year’s second half will likely be more repressed due in part to the Argentinean crisis, the increase in interest rates and the impact of the energy crisis.
In 2001, Volkswagen is forecast to be South America’s production leader with 599,000 units, a 12% increase to prior year—reaching a consolidated production share of 26%. The Gol continues to display a dominant performance, representing more than half of VW’s total South American production. Export plans of the PQ35 VW Golf and Audi A3 will aid to sustain this production leadership position. Additionally, VW will revamp its portfolio with the new PQ24 to be introduced in 2002.
GM is slated to achieve a close second position in 2001 as 595,000 units are forecast, representing a share of 26% but more importantly, growth of 16% over 2000. The new Celta continues to perform well due in part to Internet sales and its value equation. The Internet program has allowed GM to escape the price wars in this segment.
The third most significant participant is expected be Fiat, with an output forecast of 522,000 units, 23% share and a growth of 13% over the prior year. The Palio line sustains Fiat’s performance in Brazil. In Argentina, during the first seven months of 2001, Fiat was the only company posting a year-over-year increase: 33 % over 2000. Supporting this increase were increased sales of the Siena sedan derived from the global 178 platform. However, Fiat will have to wait until 2003 to revamp its line-up with the introduction of its new A-B platform-derived vehicles.
Ford’s performance continued to be poor during the first seven months of 2001: the locally produced Fiesta and Ka are not competitive against many of the popular competitors. In Argentina, Ford relied on exports to Brazil of the Focus, Escort and Ranger. The company’s revival is to a significant extent dependent on the introduction of the B2 Amazon derivatives in early 2002.