By far the largest and most populated country in South America, Brazil is a key player in terms of industry, especially so for agriculture. Having successfully weathered a period of global financial difficulty in the late 20th century, Brazil was seen as one of the world’s strongest emerging markets and a contributor to global growth. The awarding of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the first ever to be held in South America, was seen as symbolic of the country’s rise.
However, from 2014-2016, Brazil experienced a sluggish economy, high unemployment and inflation as well as the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff of the PT party, a party which had been in power for 14 years.
Following a brief reign by President Michel Temer (PMDB party), newly elected President Jair Messias Bolsonaro (PSL party) has been in office since January 2019. Many businesses are optimistic due to his promises to reduce bureaucracy and to combat corruption but only time will tell.
Thank you to contributors to the Brazil WikiFleet page: BDO; Move.on
population 207 million (2017)
|Major cities|| |
Sao Paulo (12mn), Rio de Janeiro (6.5mn), Brasilia (2.98mn), Salvador (2.94mn), Fortaleza (2.61mn)
* 2017 (source: Brazil's statistics bureau IBGE)
|Unemployment rate|| |
12% (January, 2019)
|Main industries|| |
petroleum, steel, iron and chemical production, auto assembly, mining and processing of petroleum products, cement manufacture, agriculture, and tech industries
Brazilian real (BRL)
|Interest rate|| |
6.5% (February, 2019)
Source: Trading Economics
|Political key info|| |
3.89% (February, 2098)
Source: Trading Economics
|Total Car park|| |
51.8 million cars, approximately one car per four inhabitants (est. 2017)
95 million registered vehicles in May 2017 (cars, LCVs, trucks, buses, motorcycles)
|New vehicle registrations (Cars, LCV, Trucks)|| |
A total 2.47 million (cars, LCVs) were sold in 2018, +13.7% year-over-year
|Top 5 brands (total market)|| |
2018 light vehicles
|Model preference top 5 (total market)|| |
|Dealer network (including fleet dealer network)|| |
While OEM-linked dealers are reliable for vehicle service and maintenance, the same cannot be said for third-party providers – at least not across the entire country.
|Used car market/renewal cycle|| |
|Total Fleet Park (company cars)/Fleet penetration in total fleet sales|| |
|Evolution fleet sales (last 5 years)|| |
In terms of fleet acquisition trends, the compact SUV is one of the fastest growing vehicle segments in the Brazilian market with the Jeep Compass acheiving the No. 11 best-selling vehicle in 2017.
The basis of company car taxation in Brazil is reflected in this overview. Different types of taxes are considered here: taxes related to the registration of the vehicle, income taxes and VAT aspects. Expected future developments are also briefly listed, if any.
We note that car taxation in Brazil is a very complex matter that cannot be summarized in a few pages. On average, it is estimated that approximately 48.2%-54.8% (for 2016) of the purchase price of a vehicle in Brazil is made up of embedded taxes (import duties, Federal VAT (PIS and COFINS), State VAT (ICMS), Federal Industrialization Tax (IPI), which have not always been covered in the below overview.
1. Car taxation
1.1. Registration tax
1.2. Annual circulation tax
2. Income taxes
ü Brazilian legislation has many peculiarities on this matter. Therefore, more analysis on this side is recommended (as it could vary according to the character of the purchaser).
3.2. Hire purchase
Hire purchase is deemed as a regular car purchase. Therefore, a hire purchased should be treated as a regular purchase for tax purposes.
Lessor: As a general rule, PIS and COFINS contributions would be levied on gross-revenue at a combined rate of 9.25% or 3.65% for legal entities. There is a discussion if service tax (“ISS”) is due on leasing agreements, especially on financing leasing.
Lessee: No taxation.
4. Company car
4.1. VAT due on private use of company cars
4.2. Company car in personal tax returns – benefit in kind
5. Income taxes – drivers’ personal taxation
5.1. Private car in the personal tax return
5.1.1. Private use
5.1.2. Commuter traffic
The commuter traffic is a benefit paid by the company that should be equivalent to the cost of public transportation. If the value paid exceeds the cost of public transportation, the difference must be considered as employee’s remuneration subject to taxation (labor taxation for employee and employer as well as income taxation for employee)
5.1.3. Business kilometres
It should not be considered part of employee’s remuneration.
6. Special schemes (if any)
ü In principle, there are special schemes applicable on the purchase made by specific legal entities, elderly people and special need people (disable). These special regimes generally provide for a reduction or exemption of certain taxes.
7. Electric vehicles
As a rule, it is treated as a regular vehicle. However, some exemptions in regards to Vehicle Property Tax - IPVA is available.
8. Future developments
The government is developing a project to reduce taxes levied on electrical and hybrid vehicles.
Source: BDO (2018)
Brazil levies 35% duties on imported cars and parts to encourage vehicle buyers to purchase locally-manufactured vehicles and replacement parts.4.1. Car Taxation
For vehicles, Brazilian law requires a licence and registration fee, a property tax and an insurance, all annual and all payable by the individual or legal entity that owns the vehicle.
- The licence and registration fee, called Certificado de Registro e Licenciamento do Veiculo, is a pre-determined but annually variable amount, set by the relevant authority.
- The property tax, called Imposto sobre a Propriedade de Veiculos Automotores (IPVA), amounts to 4% of the listed price of the vehicle (as listed in the state of Sao Paulo), and applies to all vehicles not included in a special category.
- The compulsory insurance, called Seguro DPVAT, is variable.
Special schemes provide for reduced taxation if vehicles are purchased by elderly and/or disabled people and certain special categories of legal entities.4.2. Income tax – Taxable persons
4.3. Company car
Car ownership (either by the driver or the legal entity) must be reported in the individual annual tax return.
VAT deductibility in Brazil is very complex, and could vary according to the nature of the purchaser.
It should be noted that hire purchase counts as regular purchase in Brazil, and consequently a car hire-purchased should be considered as a regularly purchased vehicle for tax purposes.
In the case of leasing, taxes for PIS (Programa de Integração Social) and COFINS (Contribuição para o Financiamento da Seguraridade Social) would be levied on gross-revenue at a combined rate of 9.25%, or 3.65% for legal entities. There is a discussion ongoing on whether ISS (Instituto Sobre Serviços) is due on leasing agreements, especially in the case of financing leasing.
The above applies to the lessor, the lessee is not taxed.4.4. Income taxes – drivers’ personal taxation
For personal tax returns (of employees), the Brazilian government distinguishes between company cars solely used for work purposes, and those also used for private purposes.
In the first case, no extra taxes are due.
In the second case, if the car is used habitually for private purposes, its use is considered a fringe benefit, and subject to taxation (as income tax for the employee, and as labour tax for both employee and employer).
If the value of the benefit in kind exceeds the equivalent cost of public transportation, the difference is considered a remuneration subject to labour taxation (for both employer and employee) and income taxation (for the employee).
There is no specific provision for charging VAT for the personal use of company cars.4.5. Electric vehicles
4.6. Future developments
Currently treated as regular vehicles, however some exemptions with regard to IPVA (i.e. vehicle property tax) may be available. See also 4.6.
4.7. Legal background (import taxes)
The Brazilian government is developing a system to reduce taxes on certain categories of cars with alternative powertrains, notably electric and hybrid vehicles.
In recent years, corporate car use has been on the rise in Brazil, and they entail vehicles for operational and benefit fleets. For operational fleets, cars are for business operations only and they are commonly issued to employees of public utilities such as energy and telephone companies.
Regarding benefit fleets, these vehicles are used for both personal and business purposes and are mainly issued to directors, managers, and sales people. As a differentiation to attract workers, employees are sometimes given the right to buy their car at a discounted price at the end of the leasing period.
Some of the more common industries with company cars as a benefit are pharmaceutical, food and beverages, banking, consultancy, and others. Besides getting better pricing due to economies of scale, outsourcing a fleet can bring operational benefits as companies can focus more on their core business.
What is a good car fleet policy?
A good car fleet policy is one that clearly defines the obligations and responsibilities of the employee and employer, and one that addresses all the legal and social risks related to the usage of the car. Misunderstandings between the driver and the company must kept to a minimum.
The policy must address several things, among them being CO2 emission, TCO conditions, fuel and accident management, parking tolls, insurance conditions, maintenance and service, traffic fines, penalties for bad driving, prizes for good driving, and the possibility of buying the car at the end of contract.
One common fleet car in Brazil is the compact SUV Ford Ecosport. While a one year lease allowing 25,000km of driving costs approximately 28,680 reais (US$8,265) throughout the 12-month period, buying the car would cost 77,900 reais but it remains yours after the lease period.
As for expenses covered by lessors during the year, they could include full-coverage insurance (approx.3,895 reais) and IPVA vehicle tax (approx. 3,116 reais) for the Ecosport. A depreciation of 11,916 reais should also be considered.
Remember that lessors give discounts of at least 1,200 reais per year on longer contracts and those with multiple cars. However, companies could also get a discount of up to 20% for direct car purchases
One way to purchase a vehicle would be to finance it, something that has been on the rise recently in the wake of the falling Selic benchmark interest rate which fell to 6.75% in early 2018, the lowest rate in Brazil's history.
Vehicle financing in the first quarter of 2018 rose 20.8% year-over-year to 310,900 units. Most of it was for light vehicles which rose 18.7% to 292,000 units.
Average gasoline price per liter: US$1.11
World average: US$1.08
(est. January 7, 2019)
Despite achieving self-sufficiency in petroleum in 2007, fuel cost in Brazil is rising, due to an increase in taxes on petrol and diesel.
Companies prefer flex-fuel vehicles to mitigate the fluctuations in the price of the various fuels.
Fuel type segmentation (2013)
- Flex: 93.6%
- Gasoline: 5.9%
- Hybrid: 0.014%
- Diesel: 0.5%
Fuel price evolution
Despite boasting the world's highest rates of ethanol use, Brazil also has among the highest petrol prices in the Americas.
- Q1 2014
- Average price of a litre of petrol: €0.96
- This is 3.89% of a day’s wages (€24.57)
- At an average of 218.99 litres a year, petrol eats up 2.33% of an average annual salary.
- Q1 2015
- Average price of a litre of petrol: €0.95
- This is 4.20% of a day’s wages (€22.61)
- At an average of 218.99 litres a year, petrol eats up 2.52% of an average annual salary.
- Q1 2016
- Average price of a litre of petrol: €0.92
- This is 4.55% of a day’s wages (€20.19)
- At an average of 218.99 litres a year, petrol eats up 2.73% of an average annual salary.
- Q1 2017
- Average price of a litre of petrol: €1.08
- This is 4.23% of a day’s wages (€25.55)
- At an average of 218.99 litres a year, petrol eats up 2.54% of an average annual salary.
Q1 2018: Average price of a liter of gasoline: 4.00 reais (US$1.27)
When we talk about TCO, it is important to consider invisible factors, as well as the visible ones. Among those to keep in mind in Brazil are accurately determining Residual Value and making sure you manage your Time appropriately.
In terms of Residual Value, one must keep in mind that information on the used car market in Brazil is not as detailed and accurate as what can be found in other countries (e.g. those in Europe).
Efficient data gathering as well as having a steadfast car fleet policy is needed to reduce risk and optimize TCO.
As for Time, the time to acquire new cars, order spare parts, carry out repairs, and then sell the used car at the end of the contract must be reduced as much as possible. Any extra time spent on these processes can result in extra costs that could heavily impact TCO.
As such, developing new mobility solutions that streamline processes are a must. For one, fleet managers need to carry out in-depth evaluations of the car models being used and vehicle usage profiles, taking into account the region the car will be driven in and other factors.
Besides selecting the appropriate type of vehicle for the usage needed, selecting the appropriate brand for the region will reduce new car delivery time, repairs processes, and in some cases, the remarketing process.
- The Global status report on road safety 2013estimates that more than 43 800 people are killed in road traffic crashes in Brazil every year. Road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death, injury and hospitalization, resulting in high economic and social costs. The majority (52%) of people killed in traffic are vulnerable road users – pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists.
- Road deaths per 100,000 inhabitants (2013): 23.4 (highest in South America)
- Brazil road safety country profileincluding:
- Institutional framework
- Safer roads and mobility
- Safer vehicles
- Safer road users
- > http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_safety_status/2013/country_profiles/brazil.pdf?ua=1
Approximately 30% of the vehicles in Brazil are insured. Of these, about one in four is a corporate vehicle.
As for operating any fleet car, insurance is one of the main expenses and below are some of the premium estimates for 2018.
Considering a 35-year old driver who is married, the cost to insure the subcompact Chevrolet Onix (Brazil’s best-selling car) in the city of São Paulo is 1,394 reais (US$425).
Other premiums are 1,870 reais for the compact Volkswagen Polo, 2,721 reais for the Toyota Corolla sedan, 2,891 for the compact SUV Honda HR-V, and 4,019 for the Jeep Compass which is the best-selling compact SUV in Brazil so far this year.
Mandatory third-party vehicle insurance: The SOAT Policy covers traffic accidents involving insured vehicles or unidentified vehicles. The action attributable to the driver is not enforceable against affected passengers or pedestrians..(Source: Mapfe 2017)
Among the most common reasons to use this telematics in Brazil are to prevent vehicle theft, locate them once they have been stolen, and to control driver behaviour which could result in accidents.
- In 2014, Brazil was the 11th largest overall producer of CO2 emissions in the world, at 144.5 million metric tons of carbon.
- Of all CO2 emissions, 44.7% were from transport – down from 51% in 1975.
- In 2014, Brazil emitted 1.03 tons of CO2 per capita from transport, up on average 2.7% per year since 2000.
In 2017, electric and hybrid cars only represent about 0.01% of the country’s fleet and a starting unit price of approximately 130,000 reais (US$40,500) is still quite high for most consumers. However, besides the falling price of batteries which should soon lower the price of vehicles, the federal government has shown stronger signs of pushing for cleaner energy and electrification this year.
Besides approving the start of the process for Brazil to become a country member of the international renewable agency IRENA, the country’s infrastructure services commission approved PLC 65/2014 in January 2018, a bill that obliges electric utilities to install vehicle recharging units at strategic points throughout cities.
The federal government also passed a bill in January which proposes the privatization of national electricity company Eletrobras, something that could also speed up changes in the move toward electrification.
In terms of the private sector, a few OEM’s are planning to introduce their first EVs into the country (by 2019). Among them are the Nissan Leaf (world’s best selling EV), Vokswagen e-Golf and Golf GTE, Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq, and Volvo XC60.
Home to numerous new mobility participants as well as innovative business models, Brazil - in addition to Mexico - is the benchmark of Latin America when it comes to new mobility solutions.
Ride-hailing services have been on the rise over the past few years. In 2017, the company with the largest market share was US-based Uber, followed by Brazil's 99 (formerly 99 Taxi), and then Spain's Cabify. In January 2018, local firm 99 was acquired by China's leading ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing.
Following some resistance by the companies and their drivers, government regulation of ride-hailing companies in Brazil's largest city, São Paulo, were tightened in January, 2018.
- Economy has been gradually recovering since 2017 following a two-year recession, reflecting the resurgence of automobile manufacturing and sales in the country.
- Implementing the planned pension reform is crucial to ensure the sustainability of public finances and compliance with the recently passed expenditure rule, something that congress has been discussing since 2017..
- Newly appointed President Jair Messias Bolsonaro (since January 2019) has promised deregulation and the reduction of bureaucracy during his tenure.
- As both inflation and interest are under control (as of 2018), more companies are transitioning their fleets from outright purchase to fleet management or even full-service leasing as they seek to focus on their core business.
- As for mobility, increasing popularity in ride-hailing and the new option of bike and e-scooter sharing is occuring in large cities.