The country’s auto production dropped 13.9 percent in February, compared to the same month last year, while vehicle exports declined 6.8 percent, according to the Association of Automotive Factories (Adefa).
There was a silver lining in the news, though, that has been roundly negative for the sector for months as production soared 78 percent — and exports shot up 218 percent — compared to January, when both production and sales abroad were sharply lower due to the holidays.
A total of 45,605 vehicles were manufactured in February, while exports — with Brazil as the main destination — totalled 24,223 vehicles. Adefa joins together the 11 largest car manufacturers in the country.
The latest numbers of vehicle production came a day after news that sales to retailers in February declined 29.1 percent, compared to the second month of 2014, to total 44,074 units.
The government recently agreed to increase the availability of dollars in order to reactivate the sector, which has been badly hit by restrictions on the purchase of autoparts abroad due to strict foreign exchange control that some say causes delays in getting imported goods into the country.
“It is a gesture that without a doubt will allow us to better plan in the sector and maintain investment, production, export and exployment plans,” Adefa president Isela Costantini said.
The registration of new vehicles across the country dropped 28.4 percent in February, compared to the same month last year, to 41,998 units, said the Association of Auto Dealerships (Acara).
The drop in the auto industry began after a combination of higher taxes on cars and a devaluation of the peso hit the purchasing-power of potential buyers, combined with lower demand from Brazil and government restrictions on imported spare parts.
The year-on-year plunges are likely to start getting smaller in the upcoming months as sector officials say the current numbers are being compared to early 2014 figures, when the sector was still increasing before the sharp devaluation of January that year.
Date: March 5, 2015