GM Colombia, which assembles Suzuki, Daewoo and Isuzu vehicles, has added a third shift due to an expected increase in demand from Andean countries. Its plant shares production with GM Venezuela and GM Ecuador and distributes vehicles to all three markets.

The announcement was made during the local launch of the GM-Daewoo designed Aveo Emotion, a subcompact four-door sedan which completes the local Aveo model line. This Korean-made model line has now replaced the Brazilian designed Opel Corsa Evolution series, which was also built in the Colombian plant from 2003.

According to GM Colombia marketing manager, Juan Manuel Hoyos, Aveo production is expected to reach 800 vehicles a month.

GM Colombia aims to keep its market share of 40% and leadership for a 22nd year. Last month it sold 7,663 vehicles, 2,200 more than a year ago (+40.3%) and 297 more than in January '07. Year to date volume is up 43.3%, while the Colombian market is up 42.1%.

Renault is running second, with a market share of 15.9%; Hyundai has 9.7%; Mazda 6.0% and Toyota 4.7%.

The market's unprecedented growth is due to a strong helped by revaluation of the Colombian peso against the US dollar.

The Mexican-made Ford Fusion (the NAFTA market sedan, not the small European hatchback) was launched here last month with the 225hp Z-tech V6 engine and six-speed gearbox and Renault is about to unveil the Logan MCV, for the next few weeks. Subaru has launched the Legacy 3.0 Spec.B executive sedan and Nissan the new Mexican-made Sentra.

Juan Vargas