Car sales in recession-hit Venezuela fell by 36% in September compared with the same period a year ago, the Venezuelan Automobile Chamber (CAVENEZ) reported on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

A total of 5,140 cars were sold last month compared with 8,025 units sold in September 2002, the report said, noting that those sales are the lowest September results since 1994 when 4,262 units were sold in the domestic market while sales in August this year were 5,023 units.

CAVENEZ reportedly said accumulated sales during the first nine months of 2003 fell by 61% to 43,017 cars from 109,870 units sold in the same period last year.

Reuters noted that more than a year of political turmoil and economic recession have severely undercut domestic car sales while a two-month strike in December and January and tight currency curbs introduced in February have also hampered business in the world's No. 5 oil exporter.

Companies affiliated with CAVENEZ are DaimlerChrysler de Venezuela, Fiat Automobiles, IVECO Venezuela, Ford, General Motors de Venezuela, MMC Automotriz [Mitsubishi] and Toyota de Venezuela, Reuters said, adding that the figures represented total vehicle sales in Venezuela, and also include car models made by non-members such as Mazda and Volkswagen.