Colombian vehicle sales totalled 145,389 vehicles in the January to July 2007 period, up 42.1% year on year, fuelled by the country's economic expansion driven largely by low interest rates.

The Chinese brands have grown 78.2% and captured a market share of 2.1% - no single brand here has more than 1.0%.

Hafei is best-selling Chinese automaker with 1,263 minivans (Zhongy, Minyi), mini pickup trucks (Ruiyi) and minicars (Lobo) sold so far. This brand has grown 374.8%, largely because Chevrolet discontinued their (Suzuki-designed) Supercarry series due to uncompetitive pricing.

Chana is the second Chinese best selling brand in Colombia with 898 vehicles sold and 102.3% growth so far. Their minivans (Starvan) and minipickups (Strartruck) enjoy 0.6% market share.

Chery, with the QQ and Tiggo, is struggling hard  with quality issues; but the brand has sold 655 vehicles for weak growth of 5.5%.

SAIC Wuling, with a similar product portfolio to Hafei, is the fourth best selling Chinese brand in Colombia with 535 units sold and 30.8% growth.

Changhe is third for growth, with 163.5% and 303 vehicles sold. Other Chinese brands here are Zongxing, JMC, DFM, BYD, JAC, Foton and Landwind.

Brands with local assembly operations took 62.7% of the market YTD, but close to half of their sales were imported assembled vehicles. CKD pack origin origin was: Korea (Daewoo-Chevrolet), Japan (Isuzu-Suzuki-Chevrolet, Toyota and Mazda), Thailand (Mazda), France (Renault) and Turkey (Renault).

CBU imports from Korea took 14.7% of the market and they've grown 30%; from Japan, 8.1% with 57.7% growth (but Nissan brings product from Mexico too); from Germany, 3.0% and an increase of 43.7%.

VW CBUs (up 50%) came from Brazil and Mexico; vehicles from USA took a 3.0% share with 6.9% growth, while Ford products (up 74%) were from Venezuela and Brazil. Peugeot and Citroën imported vehicles from France, Chile and Argentina for a 1% share and a 12% increase YTD.

Juan Vargas