Brazil: A Lot of Car Buying by Lot

In Brazil's inflation-ridden economy, getting a new car financed usually means making a 50% down payment and pay ing a whopping 3½% monthly interest on the balance over the next 18 months. Nonetheless, Brazil makes a substantial number of its own vehicles, and sells its tax-heavy trucks and cars (price of a new Volkswagen: $2,693) at a rate of 18,000 a month. Part of the explanation is an ingenious lottery called the consorcio, which gives Brazilians a gambler's chance to acquire a new car far sooner than they otherwise could—unless, of course, they happen to have enough ready cash to...

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