SAO PAULO — Chinese truck maker Foton is moving to online sales in Brazil, due to an expected rise in demand for light commercial vehicles driven by the boom in online sales and home delivery services.

“Due to the lockdown, online sales have become more important, and that is a trend that is here to stay,” said Luiz Carlos Mendonca de Barros, president of Foton’s board of directors in Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, in an interview with Xinhua.

“There will be an increase in demand for the logistics of distributing goods to residences, and because of that there will be demand for light and medium trucks,” he said.

“Car dealerships have opted to sell Foton trucks. They know the market well and are aware that products made by Foton, which has a portfolio of all the latest models, have extraordinary potential,” said De Barros.

The executive, who is also Brazil’s former minister of communications and ex-president of the National Economic and Social Development Bank, noted the South American country represents the largest market for trucks in Latin America and the fifth largest worldwide.

Foton’s goal is to grab 10 percent of that market by 2023, when it aims to sell 5,000 vehicles.

“Our trucks are starting to meet Brazilian demand and we think that this is a strategic moment, despite the (COVID-19) crisis,” De Barros said.

Brazil’s truck industry has grown at a faster pace than the economy, “because it is a big country that demands logistical solutions, both for exporting grains and for supplying its own market,” he noted.

Brazil’s truck industry manufactured as many as 200,000 units in 2014. Last year, the figure was 110,000 units.

“Through Foton, we want to increasingly form part of that industry, with trucks imported from China and those manufactured here,” he said.

China, which is Brazil’s main trade partner, has shown “recovery capacity” in the wake of its battle with the coronavirus, he said.

“China proved that a lockdown and staying at home are the best ways to tackle the outbreak and in Brazil we are going to have four months of a dip in the economy” due to those measures, he said.

However, “Brazil also has the capacity to recover, since it is a country with a domestic market, and since it has agriculture that sustains the economy,” he noted, explaining that “Brazil needs Chinese demand and China needs Brazilian food exports.”

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