MOTOR VEHICLES IN CHILE AND BRAM.
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
The Prospects for Commercial Motors in Two South American Republics. By a Special Correspondent.
ITIHERE is a good market in Chile for commercial
motor vehicles of various descriptions, but, as in the case of Argentina, the United States is at present the principal supplier. Nevertheless, it will pay British makers to give some attention to the market in order to discover in what way competition can be met, for it is unthinkable that the virtual monopoly at present enjoyed by American makers is to be regarded as a permanent state of affairs.
There are, in round figures, ten thousand vehicles of all descriptions registered in the Republic. There aNe special openings for motor vehicles for freighttransport purposes in several districts. In Magallanes, for example, particularly in the neighbourhood orPuntas Arenas, which is the most southerly city in the world, there is a demand for trucks for the purpose of carrying wool the odd three hundred miles from the sheep ranches to the coast. At present, about 75 per cent, of this traffic is being performed by oxen. Since, however, the employment of mechanical road transport means a very considerable reduction tin carrying expenses, there is little doubt bqt that the use of oxen and crude carts will soon become a thing of the past.
Commercial Vehicles for the Nitrate Industry.
The nitrate industry in Northern Chile affords another opening for the commercial vehicle maker. The Santiago Nitrate Co' . for example, are using trucks for the transport of raw material from the grounds to the crnshers' and it is quite likely that this form of transport will eventually supersede altogether the use of mules.
To a large extent, of course, the development of mechanical transport is dependent upon an adequate road system and in this respect Chile is somewhat backward. Outside the cities, there are few roads worthy of the name. In many places—owing to this deficiency—the mule and mule-cart are more suitable than the motor. At the same time, progress in road construction is being made, although it be but slowly. It is reported that a good demand exists for trucks fitted with chain-tracks in place of the back wheels for the purpose of hauling loads acros§ the nitrate wastes.
Satisfactory harvests in South Chile are creating an enhanced demand for motor tractors, hay balers, etc., and there are openings, also, for two-ton trucks for farm purposes.
There is no doubt that in Chile, as in Argentina, the United States manufacturer owes much of his success to a more careful study of the market, the provision of highly efficient representation and a comprehensive spare-part service, and an appreciation of the advantages of carefully planned and wellproduced publicity matter. British manufacturers intending to enter this market will certainly have to pay careful attention to such matters.
The Coup d'Etat in Chile.
At present, the general trade situation in Chile, Which is dependent upon the political situation, is shrouded in mystery, owing to the fact that a censorship has been established following upon the recent military coup d'etat. So far as can be ascertained from the most recent reports emanating from indirect sources, there has been little disorder and no bloodshed, and the commercial life of Santiago and Valparaiso has been little affected by political
c38 vagaries. But a local inclination to " hold tight" for a while is in evidence.
The same story of_United States supremacy is to be found in the commercial motor vehicle market in Brazil. Out of 28,000-odd registered cars in the Republic fully 50 per cent. are Fords, 30 per cent. of other American • makes, whilst the remainder emanate from Europe in general. There is no doubt that Brazilian buyers favour British makes when the prices are not absolutely prohibitive and when • an adequate spare-part depot is maintained. Add to this the fact that Brazil is one of the most progressive of the South American countries in the direction of new road construction, and it will be apparent that here is a widening market that ought to repay investigation by British makers.
It is necessary to point out that all letters, catalogues, booklets, and general propaganda for this market must be in Portuguese. If is a fatal error to address any Brazilian house in Spanish— for the average Brazilian is intensely proud of his country and language, and resents in particular any implication that he is of the same stock as the mixed descendants of the Spanish settlers in the other republics.
There are openings in Brazil for a large number of passenger vehicles for taxi services in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, for motor tractorsfor hauling rubber, and for lumber trucks in the district of Parana. It may be mentioned, in passing, that the Yard Motor Co. has 300 agents and 600 duly authorized workshops in Brazil. Since the middle of 1919 it has assembled over 20,000 cars of various types at its works in Sao Paulo. This affords an indication of the possibilities of the market, • and the high degree of efficiency attained by at least one maker in pursuing those possibilities.
U.S. Makers Sell on Long Credit.
The question of credit, also, is important. United States agents sell cars on credit for 10 months, viz., 33 per cent. cash and the balance in ten monthly instalments. British makes would find a good sale on these terms at prices of from 15,000 milreis to 20,000 milreis per car, depending upon the quality and the purpose for which it is intended. Adequate advertising should be carefully considered by firms already selling in Brazil, as well as by those intending to trade in the market. Publicity in this market is emerging from the rather crude conditions of some years ago, and a reliable British advertising agent (who specializes on foreign markets) should be consulted before any definite programme is decided upon. There is abundant evidence that British traders in general are awakening to the possibilities of Brazil as an overseas market and it would be a pity if the commercial motor industry were not well to the fore in this post-war activity. Given careful inquiry into individual possibilities, and a proper appreciation of local conditions, and a, profitable relationship should be established within a reasonable period.