Analysis
11 Dec 19

Uruguay car sales preference: it is France vs Germany

Unlike its big brother Brazil where automobile brand dominance has mainly been ruled by Chevrolet lately, the best-selling brand in Uruguay has been a dispute between French and German automakers so far this year, more like its neighbor to the West, Argentina, of which Volkswagen most recently reigns.

The following is a snapshot of the automobile sales market in Uruguay from 2018-2019.

2018 Overview

To give you a little bit of background first, the best-selling brand in 2018 was Volkswagen with 6,019 units sold. While the German automaker experienced a 25% fall in sales year-over-year, the entire market saw a drop of 20% to 43,809 units. 

Although the best-selling model was Chevrolet Onix/Prisma with 3,996 units sold, if considering specific model versions, Renault Kwid Intense 1.0 went head-to-head with Volkswagen Up! with both selling 1,624 units apiece in 2018, according to Uruguay automobile trade association ACAU.

First Quarter 2019, The Reign of Renault

At the start of 2019, although down 13.9% year-over-year, Renault took the pole position in January. The last time it held the position was March 2018.

In February, despite showing a 31.1% drop y-o-y, the French automaker retained its No. 1 spot with a 16.1% market share. It did even better in March, only showing an 8.1% drop and retaining an impressive 18.8% share.


2020 Renault Kwid Intense 1.0 (source: Renault)

As for the country’s overall market in Q1, vehicle sales were down 20.6% to 9,253 units in the quarter.

Second Quarter 2019, a Close Race

Volkswagen, despite falling 32.3% y-o-y, edges past Renault by nine cars in April to reach the top spot. The automaker retained its No. 1 spot in May, posting sales down 12.4%.

However, in June, Suzuki nearly doubled its sales (+98%) compared to the same month the previous year and took the pole position for the first time since December 2018.

In the second quarter, despite the country seeing its first uptick (+9.1%) in June, overall sales YTD was 18,859 (-15.6%).

Third Quarter 2019, Return of Volkswagen

In July, Volkswagen saw its sales increase by 0.9% and returned to the top spot. It remained there in August and September with sales up 17.8% y-o-y and 35% y-o-y respectively. The quarter closed with the automaker reaching the pole position for the fifth time in the last six months.


2020 Volkswagen Up (source: Volkswagen)

Although overall sales throughout the country in the second semester is outpacing first semester results, sales YTD were still down 9.9% at the end of September with 29,179 units sold.

Fourth Quarter 2019, Market Recovering  

As fourth-quarter results are yet to be tabulated in full, all that we can say so far this year is that Volkswagen led sales in October. With sales up by 37.1% y-o-y, it held 19.3% of the market share that month. YTD, the leaders remain Volkswagen and Renault.   

As for the overall market, although sales were up 1.2% to 3,492 units in October, sales from January-October are down 8.6% to 32,753 units. This decrease, however, is better than past months of the year so stay tuned and let’s see if the recovery continues into 2020.

Authored by: Daniel Bland
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