Sao Paulo, Brazil (SPX) Mar 17, 2010
The announcement that Brazil's 10 millionth Flex-Fuel vehicle was built yesterday, made by the country's National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea), is a milestone for the industry and the country. It should encourage automakers to invest more in the global dissemination of what has been accomplished in Brazil, as well as in their countries of origin. This was the assessment of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), which sees an abundance of good reasons to spread the word and embrace a truly "Made in Brazil" success story.
"We congratulate the auto industry in Brazil for its vision and the boldness shown when it chose to invest heavily in Flex technology, to the point that many of these industries do not even produce vehicles powered exclusively by gasoline any more. The next step is to take this technically proven and highly successful project to the rest of the world, since all major automakers in Brazil have a global presence," commented the president of UNICA, Marcos Jank.
Despite its indisputable success in Brazil, Flex-Fuel technology is not widely offered in other parts of the world, largely because of the lack of commitment to produce, use and distribute ethanol. Where there is in fact interest and ethanol production and use, there are barriers, especially tariffs, preventing the entry of the imported product.
Because of these protectionist barriers, Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, a more effective, less costly biofuel that's recognized for its ability to reduce emissions that cause global warming, has struggled to enter global markets competitively. UNICA sees that situation as ironic: while fossil fuels move freely around the world, renewables, capable of positively impacting climate change, are blocked, at a time when the world repeatedly declares it is concerned about climate change.
"We know this is not a simple or quick process, but the introduction of Flex-Fuel vehicles around the world is something that has to be considered, and it can only happen with decisive support from automakers. Without it, Brazil would not have accomplished such positive results and it will not be different in other countries. The role of the auto industry is crucial," said Jank.
UNICA's Technology and Emissions Consultant, Alfred Szwarc, sees no reason why automakers should not introduce their Flex-Fuel technology elsewhere in the world, and disseminate their success in Brazil at major global automotive industry events.
"These vehicles and more information on them should be taken to automotive events of global importance, such as the Frankfurt, Detroit and Geneva auto shows. It is unfortunate that emphasis on Flex-Fuel technology is not even seen at the Brazilian Auto Show, where the success and market dominance of these vehicles should be a source of pride for the industry, the country and consumers," he said.
The president of UNICA noted that the organization, which follows and directly participates in discussions and initiatives involving the production and use of ethanol in various parts of the world, finds it surprising to note the lack of information about the existence, success and importance of Flex- Fuel cars in Brazil.
"Automakers should present their incredible Brazilian success story to the world as a perfectly viable example for others to adopt. The cost of presenting this option to consumers is not high, and consumers will then be able to choose, where available, a renewable fuel of much lower environmental impact compared to any fossil fuel," said Jank.
He added that more Flex-Fuel vehicles introduced in more markets would help to encourage more production and availability of ethanol, as results in Brazil have shown for decades.
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