March 11, 2019 / 2:48 PM / 6 months ago

Brazil auto output jumps nearly 30 percent in February, sales flat

FILE PHOTO: A person walks past cars at a parking lot in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Automobile production in Brazil rose 29.9 percent in February from January, while sales slipped 0.6 percent, the national automakers’ association said on Monday.

Automakers in Brazil produced around 257,200 new cars and trucks last month, while sales totaled about 198,600 vehicles, according to industry group Anfavea.

Compared with a year ago, auto output rose 20.5 percent and sales grew by 26.6 percent.

Production grew even though Ford’s plant in Sao Bernardo do Campo was shut for several days last month due to workers’ protests after the company announced it would exit its truck business in South America and close its plant in the town.

Exports, which have been falling due to the economic crisis in neighboring Argentina, slumped 38.9 percent compared to last year, but rose 61.8 percent compared to January.

Antonio Megale, Anfavea’s president, said that a tax incentive plan announced on Friday by the state of Sao Paulo in response to Ford’s announcement was positive for the industry, although he cautioned that its potentially positive impact would not come in the short term.

“Anything that will reduce taxes is positive,” he told reporters.

Brazil was one of the world’s five biggest auto markets until a recent downturn and remains a major base of operations for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.

Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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