Ten automotive facts you may not know about Brazil
The two thousand sixteen Olympics host nation is best known for fine beaches, rainforests, footballers with one-word names and scantily clad samba dancers, but it also has a rich automotive heritage.
BRAZIL HAS AN AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY THAT RESEMBLES DETROIT’S GOLDEN DAYS
Brazil is the world’s eighth largest car maker and churned out two million cars and 410,000 commercial vehicles in two thousand fifteen for local and export markets. Manufacturers include Audi, Chery, Citroen/Peugeot, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jac Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan/Renault, Toyota, Volkswagen and Uruguayan carmaker Effa.
CHEVROLET IS THE MOST POPULAR CAR BRAND IN BRAZIL
Chevy has toppled Fiat as the country’s most popular brand this year, with 16.6 per cent market share in the very first six months. Both brands have large manufacturing bases in the country. Fiat ruled supreme until last year but has since dropped from Eighteen.6 percent market share to 15.1 percent. The Chevrolet Onix is now the largest selling car in Brazil.
THE BRAZILIAN NEW-CAR MARKET IS TANKING
Brazil’s economic boom of the early 2000s turned into a bubble that well and truly burst as the century entered its teenagers. New-car sales have dropped a quarter in the very first half of two thousand sixteen to 951,206 – the very first time half-yearly sales have dropped below a million since 2007.
THERE ARE ONLY TWO INDIGENOUS CARMAKERS LEFT IN BRAZIL
Troller and Tecnologia Automotiva Catarinense (TAC) both make rugged SUVs. Troller (which is the Portugese word for Troll) is now possessed by Ford and makes a range of vehicles which it exports around South America including the Troller T4 Trio.0 Turbodiesel. TAC is a much smaller company and produces one vehicle, the TAC Stark.
VOLKSWAGEN MAKES CARS UNIQUE TO BRAZIL
A bit like Holden and Ford here, VW went on a local tangent in Brazil to suit South American needs. Volkswagen does Brasil-made cars you won’t see in European showrooms including the big-selling Volkswagen Golf-like Gol hatchback, and sedan and ute versions called the Voyage and Saveiro. Discontinued models include a sports car called the SP2, which was a latter-day version of the legendary Karmann Ghia – also built in big numbers in Brazil.
VOLKSWAGEN DO BRAZIL-BUILT KOMBI VANS UNTIL 2013
VW stopped making the Volkswagen Kombi in Europe in one thousand nine hundred seventy nine but construction of the venerable vans and mini buses continued in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. By one thousand nine hundred ninety seven they were only being built in Brazil, and only stopped sixteen years later because of fresh safety requirements mandating at least two airbags and anti-lock brakes, which made building them no longer viable. The popularity of old Kombis has spawned an export trade in latest Brazilian models.
Brazil is the world’s 2nd largest producer of ethanol fuel after the US. In two thousand fourteen it produced 23.Four billion litres – about a quarter of the world’s total ethanol used as fuel.
AUSTRALIA SOLD COMMODORES TO BRAZIL
Holden exported left-hand-drive Commodores to Brazil inbetween one thousand nine hundred ninety two and one thousand nine hundred ninety eight and re-entered the market in two thousand ten with a bioethanol-fuelled Holden VE Commodore. Chevrolet recruited legendary Brazilian F1 and Indy racing car champ Emerson Fittipaldi to launch the initial batch of six hundred VEs branded as the “Chevrolet Omega Fittipaldi Specials”.
THERE HAVE BEEN thirty one BRAZILIAN FORMULA one RACING DRIVERS
Brazil has produced some of the greatest racing drivers, including former world champions Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and the good Ayrton Senna. Notable drivers from the other twenty eight include Rubens Barrichello and current drivers Felipe Massa and Felipe Nasr.
BRAZIL HAS ITS OWN V8 RACING SERIES
Brazil has a strong touring car history and racing championship called Stock Car Brasil, or Stock Car V8s, which is presently a two-horse race inbetween cars loosely based on Chevy Cruzes and Peugeot 408s. The series attracts big names in South American motorsport including former F1 drivers such as the aforementioned Rubens Barrichello. Our own Mark Winterbottom co-drove in the opening round of the two thousand fifteen series and scored a podium finish with Marcos Gomes for the high-ranking Voxx Racing team.