Brazilian consumers who managed to keep jobs and income during the hardest period of the crisis have returned to buying cars in recent months, reflecting some recovery of confidence after signs of economic recovery.
This is the explanation of executives of the credit area to vehicles of large Brazilian banks for the growth in financing of the segment, which helps to boost sales in the year. Carmakers report optimism with the result of 2018 even after truckers stopped, World Cup and elections.
According to data from the Central Bank, the vehicle portfolio grew 12% in September when compared to the same month of 2017. The data also appear in the results of banks in the third quarter. According to Leandro Diniz, director of Bradesco's loans and financing department, the combination of interest rate, aging fleet and the beginning of a positive curve of confidence brought the demand back to the market.
"The one with credit is the same [consumidor] that I already had, but now people are more willing to change cars, "adds Rodnei Bernardino de Souza, director of Itaú. Those who have vehicles usually change it every two or three years, and it is these people who begin to return to the market.
"We are still growing at moderate rates, we still have a little time to get to the number back there, there is a repressed demand, people who delayed buying and changing the car to enter the confidence cycle," says André Novaes, director of Santander Financing.
He says the forecast for the year is to reach the 3 million vehicles produced, still below the 3.7 million reached in 2013, the record for the market. It helps attract customers the fall in the basic interest rate, which went from 14.25% a year to the current low of 6.50%. With strong competition along these lines, banks tend to pass on the lowest cost to the consumer.
This month, for example, banks sign loans with minimum rates of 0.89% (excluding IOF and other costs, such as insurance that is usually incorporated into longer loans and increases the final loan). The average monthly rate measured by the Central Bank is 1.7%, the lowest in the financial system for the individual, along with the payroll for public servants. Low rates are possible, they say, because when the customer pays an entrance, he is less willing to stop paying the installments. In addition, the car is the guarantee in case of default.
This does not mean that banks have loosened the criteria for granting new financing. "The banks back there have learned more to give this credit and have done homework. Banks are not making crazy credit," says Santander's Novaes.
For Bradesco, there is a great area of growth before a change in risk appetite.
"The bank has pre-approved nearly 6 million customers to purchase vehicles, and pre-analyzed another 10 million," says Diniz. It is in this space that the automakers are betting to grow again. "To make money, the bank needs to lend to someone," says Roberto Akiyama, vice president of commercial automotive at Honda Automobiles, on resumption of banks' interest in financing the sale of cars.
"We have announced financing with incentive rates and good, strong banks. We are gradually managing to improve the credit approval rate," says Marcio Alfonso, president of Caoa Chery. Ford expects to see a 10% increase in sales in 2019, following industry forecasts, says Natan Vieira, Ford's vice president of marketing, sales and services South America. "We have worked with Bradesco, and we are obtaining a relatively high approval, there is a trend of improvement over previous years, "he says.
"Unemployment remains strong, that's a problem, but this industry turnaround is a welcome respite for us. Retailing comes at a slightly slower pace, but it has reacted," says Vieira. Roberto Bottura, president of Check Price (a company that specializes in vehicle pricing), has a more cautious reading for next year. For him, there will be no significant growth in the supply of credit in the market, as sales should not have very high increases.
"There may be an improvement, but the new car market is still unlikely to grow much next year. Banks are hungry but they are still scared because they have had losses in 2015 and 2016 in the financing area. , but they want to grow healthy, "says Bottura.