With overall market at 2.21 million vehicles in H1 2021, the Latin American market is slowly recovering from the pandemic effects. Although it is still having an impact on the economies of the region, the vehicle market showed a 35% sales increase when compared to the first half of last year. Within this context, Stellantis was able to lead and post a 20% market share.
According to the data from each national entity, Stellantis sold 444,200 units between January and June 2021, up by 83% compared to H1 2020. Most of the strong growth is explained by the fact that a big quantity of countries remained under lockdown during months last year. Nevertheless, it is outstanding when compared to the 34% increase posted by Volkswagen Group, and the timid 7% growth registered by General Motors.
The real change is between H1 2021 and H1 2019, when the pandemic did not affect the markets. The information indicates that between these two periods, Stellantis group increased its sales by 16%, becoming the top market share winner in the region. Their positive results were only outperformed by other minor players like SAIC (+167% with 15,000 units), Chery (+71%, 30,400 units) and JAC (+19%, 14,600 units). No other major player recorded growth between 2019 and 2021.
Right products and good stock
There are two main reasons why the Latin American division of Stellantis is shining during these difficult times. First, they have been launching the cars that consumers want to buy. This is particularly true for Fiat, which is selling the new Strada like hot cakes. This small pickup was Brazil’s and Uruguay’s top-selling vehicle in H1 2021. In the meantime, in Argentina, Fiat positioned the locally-made Cronos as the leader.
The Fiat Argo was Brazil’s second most popular B-Hatch, and in Argentina, the recently launched Peugeot 208 was the top-selling B+ Hatch. The Fiat Mobi led the city-car ranking in Brazil, and the Jeep Renegade did the same in the SUV segment (it was the second best-selling SUV in Argentina, only 93 units behind the Volkswagen T-Cross. And in the upper segments, the Fiat Toro and Jeep Compass led their respective segments in both countries. We are talking of recently launched products (the eldest among them is the Jeep Renegade, launched in 2016).
In addition to the competitive lineup, the group has also benefited from the problems of its peers. While Chevrolet halted the production of its cars for almost 5 months, Stellantis did it for very few days. This disparity allowed Fiat to gain traction over its American rival. Volkswagen closed for some days also, but unlike Stellantis, it does not have a competitive small pickup to gain share.
Fiat brand makes 58% of Stellantis sales in the region
Another big change between the pre and post pandemic times is related to the role of Fiat brand. In H1 2019, it counted for 53% of the sales of the group, and this year the share jumped to 58%. While it is normal that one brand within a large group usually emerges as the dominant, the high percentage indicates that there are big disparities among the brands of Stellantis in Latin America.
For instance, the market share of Citroen, Fiat and Peugeot in Europe within Stellantis total sales stayed between 20% and 30% each, followed by Opel/Vauxhall at 19%. Fiat brand’s immense popularity in Brazil is a good thing for the company, but also a challenge for other brands like Peugeot and Citroen, that can barely compete. The upcoming Fiat Pulse and Jeep Commander will only make things worse for the French side of Stellantis, although Citroen will launch the dedicated C3 for Latin America next year. We will see.
*12 markets covered: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. They count for 97% of total sales in the region.