Car sales in strike-hit Venezuela fell 40.7% to 128,623 units in 2002 compared with a year earlier, Reuters reported, citing figures from the Venezuelan Automobile Chamber (CAVENEZ).

Nationwide car sales in December, when foes of leftist president Hugo Chavez began a strike to force him to resign, plummeted 91.7% to 1,627 units compared with a year earlier when 19,602 units were sold, the chamber reported, according to Reuters.

Reuters noted that Venezuela has been struggling with a deepening recession and growing political tensions since a brief coup against Chavez last April and said the chamber had earlier forecast sales would fall about 35% for the year due to the South American nation's sharp economic downturn.