Brazilian finished vehicles exports reached a new peak in May. Taking cars, light commercial vehicles, trucks and bus chassis together, a total of 73,400 units were shipped abroad during the month, according to the National Association of Automotive Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea).

The figure was up nearly 22% on the previous month and over 51% compared to May 2016.

So far this year, vehicle exports from Brazil have reached 307,600 units – more than 61% higher than in the first five months of 2016.

The total value of automotive exports in May came to $1.47 billion, factoring in agricultural machinary, components, parts and services – up nearly 20% on the previous month and up 57% on May 2016. For the first five months of 2017, the accumulated worth of Brazilian automotive exports was $6.04 billion, up 52.7% compared to last year.

Currently, one in three finished vehicles produced in Brazil is exported. Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Colombia are the main export markets.

“We surpassed all our expectations,” commented Anfavea president Antonio Megale.

Manufacturing capacity in Brazil still outstrips demand, however, with up to 80% of production capacity unused. “The export market is insufficient to overcome the fragility of the domestic market,” commented Megale.

During May, 237,100 units were produced, up 25% on the previous month and 33% over May 2016. Over the first five months of the year, output rose just over 23% in all.

The domestic market generated sales of 195,500 units in May, up 16% over May 2016, putting the year-to-date total up 1.6% at 824,500 units. That leaves the Brazilian market in a position of cumulative growth for the first time since 2014.