The FINANCIAL -- Brazil's auto makers reported another month of declining sales, output and export in April, underscoring the challenges facing the industry this year, as the country's economic performance remains sluggish, according to Nasdaq.
Vehicle sales, including cars, light vehicles, trucks and buses totaled 219,252 units in April, down 25.2% versus April 2014, according to auto maker association Anfavea on Thursday. The sales of vehicles declined 19.2% in the first four months of 2015, totaling 893,630 units.
Output, meanwhile, dropped to 217,089 vehicles, a decline of 21.7% from April 2014, and dropped 17.5% in the first four months of the year. In addition, exports totaled $836 million in April, down 26.8% in the year ago period, while in the first four months of this year, exports fell 18.9%, reaching $3.26 billion.
The combination of weak economic growth, high inflation and rising interest rates is damaging consumer confidence, especially with regard to big-ticket purchases, according to economists.
Brazil's economy expanded just 0.1% in 2014 and is expected to contract by more than 1% in 2015, according to economists surveyed by the country's central bank.
With a drop in sales, some auto makers in Brazil have started to lay off employees, implement voluntary severance programs and force mandatory vacations.
So far this year, the auto industry in Brazil cut 4,900 job posts. The industry currently has a total of 139,580 employees, according to Anfavea.
The largest auto makers in Brazil in terms of sales are General Motors Co.; Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Volkswagen AG, and Ford Motor Co.