Last autonews about south-america and auto makers (Hyundai, GM, Dodge, Chevy, Mercedes-BenzB, Cadillac, BMW, Toyota), photos/videos of supercars and from auto shows
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Motorsports: 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix: the circle is complete, and what a circle it's been [spoilers]

11/26/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Infiniti, Ferrari, South America, McLaren

The track between the lakes, the Circuit d'Interlagos in Sao Paulo, Brazil, yet again served up a fitting finale to the Formula One season. There were all kinds of ways for the two Driver's Championship contenders - Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull and Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari - to win and lose during the 71 laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix, and that was before the rain, before the yellow flags and safety car periods, and before the accidents.

The World Championship lead swapped hands at least three times during the race. By the end of Lap One, in fact, it was a fair question if either driver would have hands, or a car, steady enough to hold it...

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Motorsports: Mini Countryman by X-Raid set for Dakar

11/21/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, UK, South America, Design/Style

Mini Countryman with Off-Road Package

Mini is gearing up to head back to Dakar. The company campaigned five ALL4 racecars last year, and took the overall victory with driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret. Second place also fell to Mini, and the remaining three cars soaked up spots in the top ten for an impressive finish. This year, Mini is headed back with specially-prepared Countryman models in competition as Peterhansel attempts to defend his crown from a new crop of rivals. The team will also make use of Countryman service vehicles, all fitted with an off-road package and a spate of Mini accessories to help them overcome the 5,000 miles of brutal terrain through Peru.

Those include a four-piece body kit made of durable plastic to help protect the body from dings and chips, and the beefy fender flares call to mind the exaggerated arches on the competition vehicles.

Speaking of the competitors, Peterhansel piloted his ALL4 race car to gold in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies this year in preparation for Dakar. We'll keep an eye on his progress once the race gets started in January. In the interim, you can check out the full press release below for more information.

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Report: Ford admits consumer shift toward small cars will eat into profits

11/17/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Euro, Ford, Earnings/Financials, South America

Ford badge

Big, expensive cars and trucks equal big profits. Small, inexpensive cars equal small profits.

The mathematics in today's marketplace simply can't be argued, and the result, as buyers increasingly switch from trucks, truck-based 'utes and big family cars into smaller sedans and hatchbacks, is less earning potential for full-line automakers. Like Ford, for instance. Citing the rising trend of smaller cars and crossovers, Ford Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields warned that fourth-quarter earnings will be down compared to last year.

Smaller profits in the US market are one thing; an even bigger problem is the almost complete lack of profit margin in South America and huge multi-billion-dollar losses in Europe, where economies are in crisis and automakers are laying off workers and closing plants. In other words, we're thinking Ford's eight to ten-percent margins in the States aren't looking so bad...

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Opinion: Brazil becoming a major world market for automakers... again

11/07/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, South America

Brazilian flag

Brazil is now the world's fourth-largest national automotive market.

If your image of Brazil has anything to do with "The Girl from Ipanema" played by 1,001 Strings, you may be a little out of date. The country that will host the 2016 Summer Olympics has come a long way since the dawn of the bossa nova craze a half century ago, though it still has plenty of nagging problems left to deal with.

The recent Sao Paulo Auto Show provided one clear clue as to how much things have changed in recent years. When I first visited Brazil 15 years ago, the vehicles available to Brazilian motorists were, for the most part, decades out of date - common practice among automakers like Ford, Volkswagen and General Motors, who would dump generations-old tooling into these backwater markets rather than anything close to new.

Today, however, Brazilians motorists are likely to get the latest and greatest. Indeed, October's Sao Paulo show gave local buyers - and the rest of the world - a look at a number of all-new offerings, some designed specifically for the Portugese-speaking nations, others for global markets, such as the next-generation Ford Fiesta sedan. Significantly, the new model will land in Brazilian showrooms well before it reaches dealers here in the States.

Paul EisensteinPaul A. Eisenstein is Publisher of and a 30-year veteran of the automotive beat. His editorials bring his unique perspective and deep understanding of the auto world to Autoblog readers on a regular basis.

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Troller R-X Concept is a Brazilian Ford Bronco for the new age

10/27/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, SUVs, Ford, Misc. Auto Shows, South America, Off-Road

Troller R-X Concept (Brazil)

Until Ford bought it in 2007, Troller was an independent Brazilian brand that made the T4 and the Pantanal pickup. The T4, still in production, looks like a Jeep Wrangler hooked up with an old Ssangyong Korando and a snorkel. With Ford blood coursing through its design offices, the TR-X concept shown off at the São Paulo Auto Show looks like a Wrangler hooked up with an old Bronco and Toyota FJ Cruiser behind one of the booths at SEMA.

The TR-X is said to symbolize the essence of Toller, and while it hasn't been approved for production, we have a feeling that an appropriate response from the Brazilian public could give it a chance of seeing daylight. There's a press release below, as well as a couple of high-res photos.

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Official: GM pumping $450M into Argentine plant for new model

10/27/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Plants/Manufacturing, GM, South America

GM Rosario Automotive Complex

General Motors has announced that it will invest $450 million in its Rosario Automotive Complex in Argentina between 2013 and 2015. The cash will go toward tooling up for an all-new Chevrolet product to be exported globally. Details concerning what that new vehicle could be or where exactly it will be sold are nil, though GM said it will be based on a current global platform and that it will serve both regional and domestic markets.

All told, the Rosario plant built 135,000 vehicles last year, and the influx of cash will help expand that operation considerably. You can check out the brief press release below for more information.

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Report: VW ending Kombi production after 63-year run

10/25/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Safety, Volkswagen, South America

No, the picture above is not that of a fully restored Volkswagen Bus. It is actually a 2012 Volkswagen Kombi that is still in production in Brazil... for now. Due to tougher safety regulations, the Kombi's days are numbered as Brazil's government is requiring all new cars to come with dual front airbags and anti-lock brakes as standard equipment. No word on a replacement for the long-lived Kombi, but it won't be the VW Bulli.

Originally known as the Type 2, the iconic Volkswagen van first debuted back in 1950. Matching its classic styling, Car and Driver points out that the Kombi replaced the original air-cooled engine with a liquid-cooled mill only within the last decade.

Volkswagen has quite a history of squeezing every last year out of its designs between the original Beetle that was produced from 1938 through 2003 in Mexico and the MkI Golf that was introduced in 1974 and ended production in South Africa in 2009.

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Official: BMW planning $261 million plant in Brazil

10/24/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Plants/Manufacturing, BMW, South America

BMW Emblem

BMW has announced plans to invest 200 million euro ($261 million by current exchange rates) in a facility in Brazil. The move is an effort to counter Audi in one of the world's quickest-growing markets. BMW says it plans to produces upwards of 30,000 units a year at the Santa Catarina factory by 2014, though that number could swell significantly if the automaker sees the demand. Audi, meanwhile is set to build 150,000 vehicles per year at its location in San Jose Chiapa, Mexico. Reports indicate that automakers are looking outside of the contracting European and slowing Chinese markets in search of more sales.

Ian Robertson, member of the BMW board said, "Brazil is a market with tremendous potential for the future for the BMW Group. For that reason, we are strengthening our long-term commitment to this country."

BMW has focused on emerging markets to help step up sales by 20 percent by 2016. The automaker originally announced its plans to build construct a facility in Brazil in 2011, but the move was postponed due to shifts in the country's tax codes. Now Brazil is offering new tax brakes to any carmaker that aims to invest the area.

Scroll down to read the full BMW press release.

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Official: Bugatti brings Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse "Gris Rafale" to Brazil

10/24/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Bugatti, Misc. Auto Shows, South America

 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse

Bugatti's Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is downright well-known around these parts. Not only have we reported on the 1,200-horsepower Veyron selling for a pretty penny at Pebble Beach, we've seen a funnyman Leno take one for a pleasure cruise in SoCal.

Apparently, Bugatti believes that the Grand Sport Vitesse is likely to be just as popular in South America as it has been elsewhere in the world, as the company has officially announced that it will be bringing the model to Brazil. Not wanting to merely send out a press release, the French supercar maker has gone and created a one-off Grand Sport Vitesse "Gris Rafale" to mark the occasion.

The new car has been finished in a fetching light shade of gray called Gris Rafale (French for "Gray Burst", with accent pieces done in striking blue carbon fiber. The interior treatment is a reversal of that motif, with blue leather and gray stitching. A special edition that only features a new colorway might seem like a weak effort for any other car, but on one of the most expensive, highest performance road-going vehicles of all time, we'll take it.

Scroll down to continue reading Bugatti's full press release.

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Official: Hyundai shows new HB20X softroader in Brazil, production starts next year

10/24/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Crossovers/CUVs, Hyundai, Misc. Auto Shows, South America

Hyundai is launching a new line of cars exclusive to its Brazilian consumers called the HB (standing for "Hyundai Brasil"). After revealing the HB20 hatchback back in September, the new Hyundai HB20X made its official debut at the São Paulo Motor Show. This new Hyundai features a beefed-up exterior and more ground clearance, and it comes at the same time that Honda's similar Fit Twist was also unveiled.

Looking like a jacked-up version of a US-spec Elantra GT, the HB20X has more of a soft-roader appearance than the base HB20 thanks to its taller ride height, tinted headlights and taillights, black plastic trim around the lower edge of the car and rear fascia, black decal on the side doors and the roof rack. The HB20X on display in São Paulo also gets a flashier interior with blue contrast stitching on steering wheel and seats, sport pedals and chrome accents, although Hyundai says some of these features "may change slightly" once the car leaves the show floor.

Unfortunately, as many comparisons as we'd love to draw for this car to the Suzuki SX4 or Subaru XV Crosstrek, it does not appear that the HB20X is available with all-wheel drive. Power comes from Hyundai's 128-horsepower, 1.6-liter Gamma I4.

A sedan version of the HB will also join the lineup when it goes on sale next year, and all HB models will be produced in Hyundai's new Brazilian assembly plant in Piracicaba.

Scroll down to read about all the details in Hyundai's press release.

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