After March sales of 18,015 vehicles, Colombia’s Q1 2010 volume was up 10.1% to 49,676 units, making a full year tally of 205,000 quite feasible.

In this context, “local assemblers grew their production 25.7% in the January-February period, which helped with the 4.2% increase in manufacturing activity,” Luis Carlos Villegas, president of Andi, the Colombian industrial group, said.

Though the local assemblers’ Q1 sales were flat (20,819 in 2010 versus 20,826 a year ago), Mazda grew volume 35% and Renault 17%, though Chevrolet fell 6%, so that production growth was primarily dedicated to exports, particularly Ecuador.

Meanwhile, importers’ volume rose 15.6% year on year in the first three months of 2010.

Among those, the tussle for third place saw Kia (8.7% market share) approaching parent and rival Hyundai (10.7%) thanks to a sales boost of 98% YTD, due to new models and aggressive advertising.

The top 10 brands by sales growth were led by Fiat, followed by Jaguar, Volvo, Chrysler, Kia, Audi, Ssangyong, Dodge, Nissan and Seat.

Fiat’s strong performance was due to a change of importer – now Venezuelan group Importadora Todeschini which also imports and distributes Alfa Romeo. It opened a showroom in Bogotá last month and launched the MiTo and 159 here.

In the premium segment, Audi overtook Mercedes-Benz, thank to a boost in sales of A3 and A4 models. BMW tops this segment with a 44% market share followed by Audi (33%)and Mercedes (22%). Volvo, Porsche, Land Rover and Jaguar have a single digit share each.