31 Jan 18

Battle to lead Brazil's urban mobility

As the face of urban mobility in Latin America’s largest economy is slowly changing from the “I own my car” culture to the “let’s share cars” culture, many companies in Brazil are vying to gain leverage in this rapidly evolving market. 

Below are some of the main fleet management and leasing companies in the country, as well as some of the rising stars in ride-hailing and ride-sharing.

In terms of fleet management and leasing, two of the largest companies have been vying for position over the past year or so.

While No. 1 Localiza acquired the Brazil unit of Hertz in December 2016 for 337mn reais (about US$107mn today), Locamerica acquired 33.7% of Auto Ricci in March of 2017 for 329mn reais.

Localiza office (CREDIT: Exame)

Moreover, to assume the No. 2 spot in the country, Locamerica acquired the controlling share of Unidas in January which involved nearly 1bn reais in transactions.

Although the Locamerica-Unidas fleet has grown to a size of 100,000 cars (14% of the market), Localiza-Hertz leads with a fleet of approximately 185,000 cars (26% of the market),

Meanwhile, among the new competitors to the industry is the Volkswagen group. It kicked off its car rental unit, Fleet Solutions Brasil, in 2017.  


The three main ride-hailing companies in the country are US-based Uber, Brazil´s 99 (formerly known as 99 Taxi), and Spain’s Cabify.

As far as the largest headline to hit the news-stands in the past few weeks, China’s Didi Chuxing bought 99 in early January, a deal which involved some 900mn reais in investment from the ride-hailing giant.


Currently, the market in Brazil is led by Uber, with 99 coming in second, and other competitors such as Cabify and Easy Taxi.


While ride-hailing companies have been around for a few years, ride-sharing companies are quite new to the game with the exception of Zazcar. It was established in 2009 and currently operates in the city of São Paulo, Latin America’s largest city.

To help boost its growth in the country, national development bank BNDES announced a 7.5mn-real investment in the company in mid-January. It was made through environmental innovation fund Fim Inseed Fima. 

Zazcar parking station (CREDIT: Zazcar)

While Zazcar has a fleet of approximately 130 cars, one of its other competitors is Urbano LDSharing which has just under 100 cars.  

Traditional Mobility

Finally, we cannot talk about urban mobility without mentioning traditional means of transport such as urban trains, bus-rapid transit (BRT) systems, light rail transit (LRT) systems, monorails, and subways.

Governments in Brazil continue to carry out a number of large scale projects in its main cities, especially in São Paulo where two public-private partnership concessions were just closed.

While local infrastructure firm CCR won a tender in January to operate metro line No. 5 and monorail line No. 17 with a bid of 554mn reais, a three-part consortium has just been awarded a concession to wrap up construction and operate the 10bn-real Metro line No. 6.

The consortium - made up of China Railway Engineering Corporation, Brazil´s RuasInvest, and a group led by Japan’s Mistui – should be ready to kick off metro operations in 2021.

São Paulo monorail line (CREDIT: CMSP)

Authored by: Daniel Bland