Sao Paulo (AFP) - Brazil produced a record 3.74 million vehicles in 2013, up 9.9 percent over the previous year, a rise fueled by the farm sector and surging exports, according to industry figures.
In 2012, this Latin American economic giant, the world's fourth largest car market, churned out 3.4 million units, the National Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (ANFAVEA) said late Tuesday.
But output in December reached 235,000 units, 12.1 percent down from the same month of 2012, it noted.
"Today, Brazil is the fourth largest (auto) market) in the world, but only the seventh biggest producer," said ANFAVEA President Luiz Moan. "To improve our ranking, we must improve our competitiveness."
Domestic sales reached 3.77 million units in 2013, 0.9 percent down from the previous year.
ANFAVEA noted that domestic sales were boosted by a reduction of the tax on industrial products.
But it called for more flexibility in granting consumer credit.
"Rigidity in granting credits was a key factor which slightly dampened the enthusiasm of consumers," Moan said.
In 2014, ANFAVEA projects rises of 0.7 percent in production, 1.1 percent in sales, 2.1 percent in exports and 2.6 in the value of foreign sales.
Home to more than 200 million people, Brazil has based much of its economic growth over the past years on domestic consumption but this model now appears to be running out of steam, according to analysts.
Auto exports surged 26.5 percent in 2013 compared with the previous year to reach 563,268 units.
In value, exports of vehicles, spare parts and farm machinery also reached a record of $16.6 billion, up 13.5 percent over 2012.
Output of farm machinery last year also set a record of 100,500 units, up 20 percent over 2012.