SAO PAULO, Brazil -- China and India are among countries that inquired about purchases of Brazilian flex-fuel vehicles, the vice president of General Motors' unit in Brazil, said Tuesday.
GM's Jose Carlos Pinheiro Neto told a sugar and ethanol conference that export "packages" were being studied with the federal government to export flex-fuel vehicles -- using either anhydrous alcohol or gasoline -- as well as cars running uniquely on hydrous alcohol.
"These countries came to us. China is a huge market, and India wants to use the system," Pinheiro Neto said, adding that Japan and California were also interested.
Brazilian exports of fuel alcohol, or ethanol, are expected to reach a record of more than 2 billion liters in 2004, against just over 700 million liters last year. It is exported mostly as anhydrous alcohol and blended with gasoline.
Flex-fuel vehicles were launched in March 2003 and accounted for 30 percent of Brazilian car sales in September 2004. Most flex-fuel vehicles run on anhydrous alcohol because it is much cheaper than gasoline, according to an industry survey.
"Everything points to a considerable increase in flex-fuel vehicle sales," said Henry Joseph Junior, president of the Energy and Environment Commission of the National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers.
A joint study by the private sector and the government at the end of last year projected that flex-fuel vehicles would account for two-thirds of light-vehicle sales from 2007, compared with 28 percent in 2004.
The initial estimate for 2004 was 17 percent, but strong sales in recent months made the forecasters raise it.
Joseph forecast that 6 million flex-fuel vehicles will be on Brazilian roads by 2010.