New car sales in Colombia fell 25% in April, compared with March, but were nonetheless up 50% year to date in the first four months of 2011. March’s dismal result was due to holidays shortening the business month to just three weeks and floods throughout the country.

Colombians bought 24,364 new vehicles, 7,956 units less than March but 6,278 more than in April last year. The year to date tally was 102,984.

Chevrolet, as usual, topped the chart with 33,829 units sold and a market share of 32.8%; Renault followed the bowtie badge with 16,954 (16.5%); next were Hyundai, 9,040 (8.8%); Kia, 7,726 (7.5%); Nissan, 7,614 (7.4%); Toyota, 5,105 (5,0%); Mazda, 4,346 (4.2%), Ford, 3,337 (3.2%); Volkswagen, 2,569 (2.5%); and Dodge, 752 (0.7%).

The top 10 performers for the first four months of the year were: Peugeot, with 386 vehicles sold and YTD growth of 150.6%; Citroën, 170 (150.0%); Ford, 3,337 (139.9%); Seat, 124 (117.5%); Nissan, 7,614 (110.4%); Skoda, 121 (89.1%); Volvo Car, 231 (81.9%); Renault, 16,954 (72.9%); Toyota, 5,105 (60.6%); Mini, 141 (56,7%).

Bogotá was the biggest metropolitan market in Colombia with 46%; next was Medellín, 14%; Cali, 9.9%; Bucaramamanga, 6.5%; and Barranquilla, 5,4%.

Last month, industry association Andi said it would create a research, development and innovation institute for the automotive sector to make it more competitive.

The Ministry of industry had previously asked auto sector associations to submit proposals for consolidation and growth in short (2010), medium (2019) and long (2032) terms.

It eventually came up with a roadmap with a number of initiatives intended to make the auto industry a leading exporter of  parts and vehicles by 2032, generating revenues of at least US$3bn dollars. Still  unclear is the amount of the investment to be made.