General Motors sees Brazilian turnaround
The automaker looks to boost market share overseas with the introduction of 9 new vehicles.
Auto giant General Motors (GM) is overhauling its lineup to increase its market share in Brazil.
According to Reuters, GM has launched seven new vehicles in Brazil over the past 12 months, with two more due before the end of 2012.
"Our sales forecasts were wrong for all of the recent launches," senior vice president Marcos Munhoz told Reuters. "Each model sold more than we expected."
The company is hoping to increase its Brazilian market share from 17.4% last year. It hasn't topped that number since 2003, when its share peaked at 23.3%.
Brazil's auto industry as a whole saw a weak first half of the year, Reuters reports, and one trade group has estimated that car sales could fall in 2012 for the first time since 2003.
However, Munhoz is having none of it. He claims that the industry is shaking off the weak sales, and told Reuters he could see growth of as much as 1.5% this year.
GM is focusing on larger and premium vehicle sales in Brazil, bypassing fierce competition at the compact level (the number of brands available has increased from four to 10 since 1990). Unfortunately, the company has been forced to cut roughly 2,000 jobs from two Sao Paulo factories in the last year. There have been threats of a strike from a metal workers union if GM cannot reassure its workers that there will not be further cuts.
Shares of the company fell less than 1% Thursday to close at $20.54.
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