In recent weeks, the government tightened the import "clamp" for the automotive sector, which caused August to be the month with the lowest level of permits to enter vehicles from abroad.
From an average of around 15,000 units per month, since the beginning of 2021, it fell to 10,315 nationalizations. As Ámbito had anticipated, automakers were perceiving that last month restrictions were becoming more pronounced, due to a slower pace of approvals of the forms required to enter a 0 km vehicle, known as SIMIs. This assumption was confirmed with the information available on imports of finished models from the sector.
After a growth between January and March, the trend slowed down to the lowest number last month.
The reason for this tightening of the "cepo" has to do with the country's shortage of foreign currency. At the beginning of the year, the Government and the companies of the sector had agreed on a quota of dollars for each brand. In the case of the terminals located in the country, which are the main importers of vehicles, this money was to be used for both 0 km and auto parts.
On the other hand, there are the representatives of foreign brands, which were also assigned a quota of dollars, obviously, much less, since they represent 3% of the market.
In any case, both of them were granted a similar or lower amount of foreign currency than last year, but to supply a growing market due to the exchange rate gap. That is why the dollars they receive are not enough to cover the demand.
The problem is that, as the months went by, the release of dollars was cut back, up to the floor of August.
In the terminals, there is concern for fear that this adjustment will deepen in September. As of yesterday, according to Ámbito, there had been very few SIMI approvals and the offices of the companies' managers were anxious about the official delay.
One automaker pointed out that the Government had implied that there would be news between this week and next week.
In the middle, there is the political factor and the impact that the result of the elections and the behavior of the exchange market may have.
The need to arrive calmly to the November elections may force the Central Bank authorities to be more careful with foreign currency.
The situation of not knowing when or how many units can be imported generates great uncertainty and unpredictability in the sector.
On the other hand, there is the network of dealerships which, in some cases, such as those of non-established brands, have no units to sell and, therefore, no income, while having to face fixed costs.