There are milestones, and then there are milestones. Last week, Fiat's Brazilian division celebrated the big mamma: 10 million vehicles produced. The Italian automaker has been building cars and light trucks in Brazil for over 30 years, and today Fiat Automóveis holds a 25.5% market share, making Fiat the largest automaker in Brazil and Brazil the largest foreign market for Fiat.
Outside of a Terry Gilliam film, where else can you see a used car blessing ceremony, a city of one million people with 535 different public bus routes, roadblocks set up by car mechanics, and kids dressed in zebra suits patrolling crosswalks? Bolivia, that's where. The South American nation, attempting to halt an explosion of automobile buying that's clogging their limited road network, has banned importing used cars more than five years old.
Peugeot is a long way off from its ambitious target of selling 4 million units annually by the end of the decade. This year its sales projects put it at 2 million, but chief executive Jean-Philippe Collin has a plan in place to reach the targets set out by parent company PSA.
It seems like America is the only place where American cars aren't popular. Buick has huge numbers in China, and Ford's having a lot of success in Brazil. Sales of the Fusion sedan took off to the point that it now leads the midsize segment there. Riding high on the Fusion's success, Ford's sending the Edge below the equator. The Edge will join a lineup that includes the new Ka compact, the EcoSport small 'Ute, and the Fiesta.
Carlos Ghosn recently said that Renault/Nissan is developing a $3K car with Indian partner Tata. Honda said it looked at the same idea, but that it couldn't build a car with Honda values for that money. Chrysler has put itself in the Honda camp, ruling out the creation of a $3K car with Chinese partner Chery. Instead, Chrysler is working on a two-tier system that will build basic, inexpensive vehicles for developing countries and full-fat premium cars for the US, Canada, and Europe.
Yesterday was supposed to be the launch day for the Panamericana biodiesel trip from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, the whole western edge of North and South America. We promised last week to keep tabs on what the Panamericana group is self-reporting on how the trip is going, but that’s not possible yet. As of right now, the Panamericana website has no news of how the first day went, even though daily updates were promised. I hope the adventure of taking three SUVs over 15,000 miles using not
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