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Last month was the best February on record for Colombian new vehicle sales with the 25,527 units sold up 51% month on month and 46% year on year.

Standard and Poor’s has rerated the country’s long-term debt from BB + to BBB and short term from B to A3. This air of confidence has also been encouraged by an inward flood of foreign currency, especially US dollars, prompting La República Central Bank to increase interest rates to control inflation.

Despite this measure, interest rates for new car buyers are still low and, with the help of a stronger Colombian peso, car prices are, if not low, have at least been stable for last four or five years.

According to Econometría, locally assembled vehicles achieved a YTD increase of 33% and market share of 40% but full imports grew 60%. The consultancy has adjusted its full year forecast upwards to 275,000 units.

Hino Trucks has signed an agreement with Alpina to gradually convert the dairy products company’s fleet to hybrid trucks.

The 10 best performing brands in Colombian market last month were Land Rover, up 1,033.3%; Peugeot, 284.2%; Ford, 185.2%; Porsche, 150.0%; Skoda, 139.1%; Fiat, 109.2%; Nissan, 103.6%; Citroën, 92.3%; Jeep, 82.8%; and Volvo, 70,8%.

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Meanwhile, the top 10 seller order changed a little: Chevrolet, 34.0%; Renault, 14.2%; Hyundai, 9.1%; Kia, 8.2%; Nissan 7.0%; Toyota, 5.4%; Mazda, 4.4%; Ford, 3.0%; VW, 2.5%; and BMW, 0.6%.

As reported last month, Cesvi Colombia – an automotive research and development laboratory founded by the main insurance companies – opened its first vehicle dismantling centre where up to 88 units a month can be taken apart using the latest raw material recovery methods and environmental protection.