With uncertainty in the US and Chinese markets, automakers are scrambling to rev up their efforts in what were traditionally secondary markets. Take Toyota's efforts in Latin America. A recent story from The Wall Street Journal highlights the Japanese brand's push in the southern hemisphere, particularly in Brazil, where it has expanded its operations and installed new executives with a greater range of powers, all in a bid to grab a bigger slice of the ever-growing South American pie.

South America is dominated by General Motors, Fiat and Volkswagen, which maintain a combined 60 percent of the market share - Toyota holds a mere 4.5 percent. The WSJ spoke with Steve St. Angelo, Toyota's boss in Latin America, who said, "We are playing catch up, but we're catching up fast. We now have the resources to give the region the attention it really needs and deserves."

That attention includes an all-new, locally produced small car called the Etios. As bewildering as it seems, Toyota wasn't competing in the low-cost economy car market in South America. With the Etios, which arrived in September of 2012, its sales in the first seven months of 2013 are up 75 percent.

Toyota is also expanding on its local infrastructure, which includes the $600 million Sorocabo factory, located near São Paulo, which builds the Etios. The Japanese brand is also constructing a $410 million engine facility in Porto Feliz, which is slated to open in the second half of 2015.

The executive shakeup executed by Akio Toyoda back in March is also starting to pay dividends for the Japanese brand in South America. That reshuffle was meant to give regional bosses freer reign over the decision-making process in their respective regions, and in turn, allow the Japanese brand to be more flexible. St. Angelo, who was elevated to the head of Latin America and the Caribbean as part of the rearrangement, told the WSJ, "It's pretty remarkable that we made these changes within the first year of production. We didn't have to go through a bunch of paperwork, and go ask Japan for permission. We knew it was the right thing to do for the customer and we took fast action."


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      owen brown
      • 1 Year Ago
      The headline doesn't even go with the story.SMDH
      César Oliveira
      • 1 Year Ago
      The city's name is Sorocaba, not Sorocabo.
      Sir Duke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Of course they are, their cars have no style. They range from clumsy to awkward to silly. Toyota's last sedan with any style was the Cressida. Since then they have been bouncing from pillar to post with some rather heinous designs. Take the Toyota badge off any of their cars, and sales for that unit would tank. They are currently trading on their past. Former 4 time Toyota owner.
      mikoprivat
      • 1 Year Ago
      it's pretty sad when the Latin Americans are smarter than the hamburger filled North American faces...I think only the backward Amerikanos like toyotas and other asian junk
        mikoprivat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikoprivat
        to the toyota clowns below...I come from a country where cars are built for knowledgeable people who appreciate good cars and good engineering, that's why where i live these low end asian companies barely make any dent in the car market. I don't have to pretend that I am somebody else,(like you idiots claim) I could care less what you uneducated toyota "fans" think or write because I have never in my life read so much low intelligence garbage as I read on this forum when it comes to toyota articles.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mikoprivat
          [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikoprivat
        [blocked]
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      They should send Black Dynamite there to help market Toyota's.
      guigahe
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love to see these comments, I wonder if people writing here have some proper education and more important, if they even know what they are talking about. Yes JayH, this is for you
      Henry
      • 1 Year Ago
      If they are struggling there and still is number 1 automaker in the world, what will happen when they start selling in greater numbers there?
      miketim1
      • 1 Year Ago
      I thought Toyota would do well in the latin market I kno about of Latin people that Love Toyotas
      ZéMorales1445
      Just sell the GT-86, Really Toyota, I will give you my money for that. All the cars sold in Mexico are bland, boring, automatic and expensive. The best one you have is the FJ-Cruiser and it still is somewhat expensive :/
      Brodz
      • 1 Year Ago
      No way... Jose.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      2MUCH
      • 1 Year Ago
      OK why write about where Toyota is struggling (China, Latin America) why not write about all the place GM and Chrysler is struggling if you haven't notice Toyota is doing great overall and is still the number one auto maker world wide. No matter what a company isn't going to be great every single where on earth especially Latin America where not much people drive cars but ride bikes and motorcycles.. you guys always want to put down Toyota and Lexus especially with that recent post about the Land Cruiser Grille if u haven't seen it before its the same dam grille and as we see Toyota grilles are far more nicer than Ford or GM
        mikeybyte1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2MUCH
        What does bike riding have to do with Toyota only having a 4.5% market share? That means the other 95.5% of car buyers are buying something different. Why do fan boys get so upset on basic factual articles about their favorite car maker?
    • Load More Comments