Brazil's Favorite Luxury Car Makers
Brazil’s auto market has been seen as one of the hottest in the world. Companies like Volkswagen and Fiat sell more cars there than they do in their home markets. This is especially true for Fiat. In the mid to late 2000s, Brazil was selling around two million passenger cars year. Today, it sells closer to four million, according to Anfavea, the Brazilian Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
But always within the entry level space there is room for the niche player, the maker of the luxury models that are the desire of youth and of middle aged man; the toys for the rich and the celebrity.
Brazil’s luxury car market is puny compared to the United States and China high end markets. In fact, over the last 20 years, since 1991, Abeiva, the association of Brazilian automotive importers, said its members sold just 1.1 million vehicles, of which Kia Motors Kia Motors represented around 30%. Still, this is a market the luxury makers see as having “great potential for the future”.
And if Brazil isn’t the “country of the future” — as is culturally known — then who is?
Last month, luxury hounds at the Digital Luxury Group released their World Luxury Index Brazil survey for various segments of the market, from apparel to hospitality. They found that brand interest in luxury names increased by 24% in 2012. But what I found out here at Forbes is that does not translate into higher sales. Interest isn’t tangible. In fact, of the top 10 luxury car makers on the Digital Luxury Index, not one saw an increase in sales last year over 2011 and some — like Mercedes Benz — have been slumping for years.
Nevertheless, automobiles account for 49% of the luxury market in Brazil. The next closest item is beauty and skin care, at a respectable 18%.
According to industry data, less than 40,000 luxury cars were sold in Brazil in 2012, the Digital Luxury Group said. Here are the makes and models they love most down there.