The announcement, last week, of the sale of the deactivated industrial facilities of Mercedes-Benz, in Iracemápolis (SP), to Great Wall Motors (GWM) was not exactly a surprise. Since 2012, GWM showed interest in the Brazilian market, but preferred to wait for better moments.
There were doubts about setting up as an importer or appointing a representative. In 2019, backstage news raised a possible association between the company and Grupo Caoa to acquire the Ford factory in São Bernardo do Campo (SP). However, it did not prosper.
Other Chinese companies, JAC and Chery (both state-owned), took different paths. The first named Sérgio Habib’s Grupo SHC as its representative. The brand debuted relatively well, but the 2013 Inovar-Auto program greatly increased the tax burden on companies that did not produce in Brazil.
The group filed for bankruptcy protection and now has a symbolic market share, although its shift to JAC’s own electric models has helped.
In Chery’s case, the evaluation error was almost fatal. It opened an entirely new factory in Jacareí (SP) and the next day it suffered a strike. The operation proved unfeasible until Grupo Caoa entered the company in 2017. The Brazilian group acted competently to save the brand, dividing production between Jacareí and Anápolis (GO).
GWM (largest Chinese private capital manufacturer) must have negotiated very well the acquisition of the São Paulo factory with the headquarters of Daimler, in Germany. A small unit, for just 2,000 vehicles/year and 370 employees. The plans, however, are audacious: 2,000 employees and 100,000 units/year still open. Its portfolio includes five brands (Great Wall, Haval, WEI, TANK and ORA) with an offer of medium SUVs and pickup trucks that are in demand here.
The group, however, shows something discrediting. It has already made shameless copies, in China, of products from Fiat, Isuzu, Nissan, Scion and Toyota. Just now he launched a four-door “Beetle” there. Although I certainly shouldn’t repeat these same mistakes here, another Chinese company, Lifan, has already sold a copy of the Mini in Brazil. Chery and JAC never resorted to this expedient and indicate the image to be followed.
Seminar discusses security and connectivity
The Brazilian Association of Automotive Engineering (AEA), in a virtual seminar, showed the trends in safety and connectivity in the coming years. Daniel Tavares, from Denatran, said that during the National Traffic Week, now in September, new safety targets will be presented. Carlo Gibran, from Bosch, stressed that there is an arduous job of discussing and approving 38 technologies for vehicles in terms ranging from six to 48 months. Many of these regulations are still recent, even abroad.
Lucas Chamon, from RA Automotive, highlighted the challenge of the volume of data processed and connected by a single autonomous car still in testing: 30 TBytes per day. That’s 3,000 times the amount generated on a social network like Twitter on a daily basis. Even with the help of 5G cellular telephony, much still has to be done to add reliability and consistency.
As for the confidentiality of the personal data of the occupants of the vehicle João Garbin, from Volvo Cars, guaranteed that they will be preserved. The doubt arose about the possibility of being transferred to transit authorities.
– Not even Toyota has escaped semiconductor supply problems and will cut 40% of its world production next September. Some countries will be hit harder than others, although the company plans to recover the volume by March 2022 (end of its fiscal year). According to Reuters, Toyota has increased chip inventories since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 and, therefore, has been less affected than other manufacturers.
– CR-V 2021 maintained dimensions and performance. Front restyle, new wheels and rear touches made Honda’s mid-range SUV more attractive. On-demand 4×4 traction provides excellent handling. Complete safety package: adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking among others. Well-placed USB ports and induction cell phone charging improve connectivity. Imported from USA, high price makes it uncompetitive.
– Porsche 911 GT3 and 718 Cayman GT4 come in for R$705,000 and R$1,149,000, respectively. Both use naturally aspirated engines, in a scenario dominated by turbochargers, including the brand itself. In test at the Velocittà Autodrome, the first, now with 510 hp, is more “on the ground”, as they say, with changes in suspensions and aerodynamics. The second gained power (going to 420 hp) and provides a unique driving experience due to the agility of responses thanks to the central rear engine.