Compañía Colombiana AutomotrizMazda, whose products are assembled here in Colombia by Compañía Colombiana Automotriz (CCA), announced the launch of three new vehicles last month: the locally built BT series and imported CX7 and CX9 crossovers.

The Mazda arrivals joined other launches here including the Subaru Tribeca crossover, the new Mercedes-Benz C-class, Volvo C30 hatchback and Mitsubishi's Montero II.

Current Tata owners also heard good news - the Colwagen Group (currently the Audi importer and a VW and Ssangyong dealer) is going to take over the Indian brand in Colombia - it was dropped a couple of years ago by the company that handles Hyundai.

Speaking of the Korean brand, Hyundai Motor Company recently handed its Colombian distributor Hyundai Colombia Automotriz an excellence award for being the best distributor in the Latin-American region. This recognised "outstanding performance and contribution" to Hyundai's truck & bus division business.

Local sources say Hino will soon start assembling trucks in Colombia, in a deal with long-time local representative Didacol, also the Daihatsu and Peugeot importer. The assembly plant in Bogotá will build about 5,000 trucks a year.

Didacol used to assemble the 3.5-ton Daihatsu Delta truck in Bogotá and, three years ago, moved the facility to Sofasa, the Renault and Toyota assembler in Medellín City, in a deal that boosted sales.

Toyota assembly at Sofasa will end in the next year, because the automaker will by then be building its own cars in its Aragua assembly plant in Venezuela.

Despite some analysts warning that the Colombian economy is becoming overheated, due to the current 75% utilisation of industrial capacity and currency revaluation, the car market has grown 44.9% to 102,333 units year to date. May sales increased 7.8% month on month to 21,643 vehicles.

Juan Vargas