By Jeffrey T. Lewis
SAO PAULO--Sales of motor vehicles plummeted in Brazil from a year earlier as car dealers closed up and demand shrank amid the spread of the coronavirus around the country.
Sales of cars dropped to 163,600 in March, a decline of 21.8% from the same month a year earlier and down 18.6% from February of this year, according to the National Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, or Anfavea. Sales of trucks reached 6,400 in March, down 15.3% from a year earlier, but up 0.4% from February.
Sales in the first half of March were going well as Brazil's economy was growing, but in the second half car dealerships began to close around the country, said Anfavea President Luiz Carlos Moraes in a video posted to the group's Facebook page.
A total of 63 plants around the country, including those of manufacturers such as Ford. Motor Co. and General Motors Co., shut down operations during the second half of March to try to slow the spread of the illness,
Car production fell also sharply in March, to 190,000, a decline of 21.1% from a year earlier and down 7% from February. Truck production rose 1% from a year earlier, to 8,400, but was down 7.9% from February, Anfavea said.
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