April 4, 2019 / 4:13 PM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil 1st-quarter auto output slips, exports to Argentina slump 42%

(Re-leads with quarterly results)

SAO PAULO, April 4 (Reuters) - Automobile production in Brazil fell 0.6% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year, the national automakers’ association said on Thursday, as an economic crisis in Argentina continued to weigh on output.

Exports to Argentina, Brazil’s main foreign auto market, fell 42% during that period.

Auto exports to Argentina had reached as high as 75% percent of the total, said Anfavea president Antonio Megale.

“But today they are around 60 percent, and I think it will stay like that,” he said.

Despite the slump in production, Anfavea, as the association is known, said it would maintain its projections for the year, which include 9% overall growth in auto production.

Sales within the Brazilian domestic market, however, grew by 11.4% during the first three months of the year.

In monthly statistics, auto production in Brazil fell 6.4% in March from February, while sales rose 5.3% .

Production totaled some 240,500 cars and trucks last month, while sales totaled about 209,200 vehicles. Compared with a year ago, auto output fell 10.1% and sales grew by 0.9%.

Brazil was one of the world’s five biggest auto markets until a recent downturn and remains a major base of operations for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Volkswagen AG , General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. (Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish)

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