UPDATE 2-Brazil automakers expect small rebound from 2014 slump

jueves 8 de enero de 2015 13:30 GYT

(Adds industrial production figures)

By Alberto Alerigi and Brad Haynes

SAO PAULO Jan 8 (Reuters) - Automobile production in 2015 in Brazil will likely barely recover from a sharp plunge last year, as weak sales and exports drag on an industry quickly shedding jobs.

Anfavea, the national automakers association, on Thursday forecast a 4.1 percent rise in vehicle output this year after a 15.3 percent drop in 2014 due to tighter credit, shaky consumer confidence and expiring tax breaks. Output rose 10 percent in 2013.

Anfavea expects flat sales in 2015 after a 7.1 percent slump last year and sees exports edging up just 1.0 percent after a 33.1 percent plunge in 2014.

Brazil is one of the world's five biggest auto markets and a major base of operations for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles , Germany's Volkswagen AG and U.S.-based General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.

The prospect of another weak year for Brazil's auto industry is adding to headaches for President Dilma Rousseff as she struggles to get Brazil's economy growing again without the fiscal stimulus used in recent years.

Rousseff had offered cheap credit and tax breaks to protect manufacturing jobs and prop up the industry since 2012, but slumping demand and deteriorating government accounts have caught up with the president, who finally axed the incentives.

Payrolls in the sector dwindled 8.9 percent last year, and Volkswagen and the Mercedes-Benz truck unit of Daimler AG have cut more than 1,000 jobs in Brazil over the past week.   Continuación...