Fiat has signed an agreement with Venezuelan company Comercializadora Todeschini to assemble the Uno locally.

Comercializadora Todeschini has been the official importer of the brand since 1999, when Fiat stopped production in Venezuela.

Comercializadora Todeschini has bought Fiat's mothballed La Victoria plant and will re-open it next January to assemble Uno CKD kits shipped from Brazil.

Fiat do Brasil expects to ship about 10,000 kits to Venezuela in 2005, and 15,000 in 2006.

The Venezuelan plant will build the Uno with an 1.3-litre eight-valve petrol engine. The model will be included in a government programme where cars with engines sized between 1.3-litre and 1.6-litres benefit from reduced taxation and special finance plans.

Between January and July this year, Comercializadora Todeschini sold 703 Fiat vehicles in Venezuela. The company imports the Palio, Siena, Palio Weekend and Fiorino models from Brazil.

In the first seven months of this year Venezuelan vehicle sales increased 95% to 63,997 units from 32,854 in the same period of 2003.

Rogério Louro