Brazil auto production crumbles in April, down 99pc

SAO PAULO (AFP) – Auto production in Brazil crumpled in April under the weight of the coronavirus crisis, falling a catastrophic 99 per cent, the carmakers’ association said on Friday.

Only 1,847 vehicles were produced in the country’s 65 auto factories, as compared with 189,958 made in March, the association said in a statement.

In April a year ago, automakers in Brazil produced 267,562 vehicles.

Last month’s paltry total was the smallest for a full month since 1957, the group said.

April was the first full month that Brazil was under anti-virus lockdown measures designed to curb the spread of the contagion.

Brazil is the epicentre of the outbreak in Latin America, with more than 145,000 cases and nearly 10,000 deaths.

But auto production in Brazil had already suffered in previous months, as the global pandemic paralysed the world economy and the country started taking precautions.

From January through April, a total of 587,739 vehicles left the factories of the 26 automakers operating in Brazil, against 965,408 in the same period last year – a 39 per cent drop.

“The major drop in production came along with an equally dramatic fall in sales in both the domestic market and exports,” the association said.

Exports dropped 79.3 per cent year-on-year in April, with only 7,212 vehicles leaving the country.

On Thursday, Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes warned that Latin America’s biggest economy could face “economic collapse” in a month’s time, with food shortages and “social disorder”.