4 S ão Paulo – The Brazilian automotive industry closed the first quarter stable in comparison to the first three months of last year. According to data published by Anfavea on Thursday 4, the production was 699.7 automobiles, light commercial vehicles, trucks, and bus chassis in the period, or 4 thousand fewer units than the January to March of 2018 period. Even with the domestic market in an upwards swing, exports are down, hindered by the poor performance of the largest client of the local manufacturers, Argentina. In March a total of 240.5 thousand vehicles were produced, a reduction of 10% compared to the same month of last year, and of 6.4% vis-à-vis February. Anfavea’s president, Antonio Megale, traced the fall in sales to three factors: “Besides that fact that March has one working day less than February and that exports have sustained a loss, last month one of our associates (Ford) faced a strike and another (Mercedes-Benz) was affected by a flood”. Anfavea’s president mentioned data from a report from the Central Bank, comprising 2017 and 2018, which goes to highlight the importance of the automobile industry in overall Brazilian industrial production. According to the document, the sector accounted for one-third of the industrial growth in the period and one-fourth of GDP growth. From February to March, the industry recorded a loss in personnel of a little more than 1 thousand jobs: at the end of March, it employed 129 thousand 980 people.. Production is flat in the first quarter ASSESSMENT FROM ANFAVEA By André Barros Domestic market expands but exports decline in the period