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ECONOMY | 11-04-2023 16:43

Argentina’s auto industry takes leap forward after stagnant decade

New survey from ADEFA car manufacturers association shows a volume of production not registered since October 2013 – more than 61,000 vehicles in a month.

In times of economic instability, the numbers thrown up by ADEFA (Asociación de Fabricantes de Automotores) industry group are far from trifling – local auto plants manufactured 61,104 vehicles last month, 25.4 percent more than in March 2022.

The report also shows the total production of units climbing to 134,574 last quarter or 28.1 percent up on the results of the first quarter of 2022.

These figures registered at the close of March have great importance as the highest volume of units measured in almost a decade, going back to October, 2013 when there was a record production of 72,987 units manufactured.

Ford executive Martín Galdeano, who heads ADEFA, highlighted that “the volumes registered by the sector in this first quarter sustain the growth trends which we had anticipated for 2023." 

The result “underlines the importance of joint work in the value chain, permanent dialogue and public-private partnership to find the mechanisms permitting this growth to be sustained in a very challenging context,” he added.

It’s worth  highlighting that during the first months of the year, factories registered an increase in production due to implementing more work shifts, as they have done from mid-2022 up to now.

Second manufacturing shifts have been added at Peugeot and Nissan with production also increased at the Fiat factory in Córdoba. Volkswagen has begun to produce more units of its Taos model while the manufacture of the new version of Ford Ranger is slated to begin this year at the firm’s plant in General Pacheco. Meanwhile Toyota, which leads the sector, has expanded its production by adding a third shift at its Zárate plant with the aim of hitting 180,000 units by the close of this year.

What remains certain is that March saw a surprising leap in local industrial production destined for export markets – 32,420 vehicles were exported in March, or 31.7 percent more than the same month last year, while 67,738 units were exported in the first quarter of this year –  a figure representing 50.3 percent of a total production of 134,000 units or 25.6 percent more than the exports of the first quarter of 2022. 

Sales of units to dealers supplying the domestic market also increased but more moderately – a product of the country’s economic situation and a new import system implemented since mid-October. Sources from the sector affirm that these limits do not apply to the importing of car parts for production, but the importing of vehicles has been increasingly blocked.

The reality indicates that the automotive terminals, which today concentrate 98 percent of the vehicles marketed in the country, sold 38,087 units to local dealers in March – i.e. 12.6 percent more than the volume of the same month last year – while 90,324 units were sold wholesale in the first quarter of 2023, representing 13.7 percent more than the 79,406 units of the first quarter of 2022.

Although local industry does not measure the value of local production in dollars, via a comparative calculation between the vehicles currently produced in Argentina and the production of a decade ago, it is estimated that with more pickups and SUV (sports utility vehicle) cars being manufactured, with export prices averaging around US$25,000 per unit.

Gabriela Maidana

Gabriela Maidana

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