Brazil: Middle-Class Wheels

"Underdeveloped country like hell!" proclaimed posters plastered all over Sāo Paulo last week. Brazil's sixth national automobile show was in full swing in the city's exhibition hall at Parque Ibirapuera, and auto manufacturers were making the most of their opportunity to trumpet that in one decade Brazil has managed to develop a viable motor industry. As recently as the 1950s, Brazil spent $140 million a year to import autos; last year, because of increased domestic production and higher tariffs, imports amounted to $3,000,000. This year the country's carmakers will turn out 270,000 cars and trucks, show sales of nearly $1...