Beetle Mania in Brazil
Florianopolis Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
They are everywhere and in every color imaginable. The Volkswagen Beetle is taking over Brazil. I was eating dinner my first night in Brazil and saw three Beetles drive by in the span of 45 seconds. Almost every residence seems to have one parked in the driveway and every parking lot has at least four. Why are Brazilians so obcessed with the Beetle? In the US, spotting a Beetle is not a common occurance and because of its mild rarity even spawned a game to spot them. If you tried to play that game here in Florianopolis you would be worn out in the first ten minutes. I tried to start a count and gave up after 56 Beetles. In Brazil they are reffered to as fuscas. In the US the old body style of the Beetle was abanoned with the cease of production of the model in the mid 1960s. Howver, the fuscas sold in Brazil have retained the older body style. It is odd seeing that style of the car in such a new condition, because even the restored cars in the US don´t have that aspect of modernity to them. Why do some many Brazilians own a German car? Volkswagen currently opperated 5 factories and employs 22,000 people in Brazil. All mainstream production of the Volkswagen Beetle has shifted to Mexico and Brazil. The car so loved by the people of Brazil is made locally and is thus a cheaper foreign product, which increases the appeal and demand for this mini vehicle. The Brazilian made cars do not meet the safety requirements for the US and thus can not be exported from the Brazil to the US. This inability to export encouraged a stornger advertisement campaign targeting Brazil and its neighboring countries. The cheaper costs and strong advertising have all contributed to the increase in fusca owners in Brazil, but the fusca is also a environmentally friendly car which is very important to Brazilians. In 2003, 30% of all new cars sold in Brazil will be flex-fuel cars. Volkswagen announced a few months ago that it will cease production of gasoline only models and will only produce cars that are flex-fuel capable. Brazilians are much more conscious of the environmental hazards and extra costs of gasoline gussling vehicles and have latched on to a cute efficient cheap car. The US can learn a lot from the Brazilians, and in fact the Brazilians hope to start exporting their flex-fuel cars to the US once they are able to meet the safety standards. The fusca craze has taken over Brazil and hopefully the environmetal craze attached will cross the border to the US.