The Venezuelan unit of General Motors plans to invest $US13 million to $15 million this year to increase production and introduce three new models in the first half, Dow Jones reported, citing the El Nacional newspaper quoting GM de Venezuela vice president of sales Peter Friedrich.

GM de Venezuela sold 17,528 units in Venezuela in 2003, representing 31% of the total market, Friedrich reportedly said, adding that industry-wide sales plummeted 50% last year while GM sales remained stable, he added.

According to the Dow Jones report, GM plans to introduce new models of the [Chevrolet-designed] Trail Blazer and [Suzuki-designed] Grand Vitara during the first half of this year, along with another new model Friedrich reportedly declined to mention "to not sadden GM's competitors beforehand."

The report added that GM de Venezuela plans to continue exporting 2,000 units a month to other countries in the Andean region, which represent 30% of vehicle exports from Venezuela.