Colombia’s poor economic situation continues to hamper the new vehicle market
writes Juan Vargas. Only 4,724 vehicles were sold in April, an 8.3 per cent decline
on the March figure. In the first four months of the year, sales are down by 1%
over the same period of last year (when the market was similarly depressed).

Analysts are taking a cautious view of the immediate outlook for car demand,
with many expecting sales in 2001 to turn out flat on last year.

Locally assembled cars lead the market from GM, SOFASA (Renault and Toyota)
and CCA (Mazda and Mitsubishi) who have a combined share of 58.8 per cent of
the market. No fewer than 20 imported brands fight for the remaining 41.2 per

The Chevrolet brand led the April market with a share of 32.7 per cent. This
was followed by Renault (16,3 %), Mazda (11,4 %), Daewoo (10,8 %) and Hyundai
(8,0 %).

In the first four months, GM also leads the market with 6,416 vehicles sold
and 33.4 per cent. Renault is second (2,644 cars and 13.7 % of market share),
followed by Mazda (2.388 and 12.4 %), Daewoo (2,167 and 11.3 %) and Hyundai
(1,482 and 7.7 %).

The worst performing market segment in April was pickup trucks, declining by
almost 20 per cent. This can be explained by the country’s continuing economic
crisis and its impact on the small and medium sized businesses that form a large
part of the customer base for these vehicles.

Sport Utility Vehicles also fell sharply in April – by 19 per cent. SUVs have
been a strong target for theft by FARC guerrillas who take them to the ‘Distention
Zone’ at the southern end of the country. Recent surveys by the DAS (Colombian
Intelligence Service) estimate that there are more than 5,000 stolen SUVs in
that Zone.

The mainstream commercial vehicles segment has also been hit by the recession
and a government purchasing decision that has extended the life of the fleet.
Trucks of more than 15 years old can change their engines, instead of being
wholly replaced. For these reasons, commercial vehicles sales fell by almost
19% in April.

Taxi sales have grown recently however. The taxis segment expanded by 28 percent
last month. In recent months there have been two important new launches into
the segment: the taxi versions of the Daewoo Lanos and the Renault Kangoo.

To view related research reports, please follow the links

automotive industry in Latin America: Mexico, Brazil and Argentina Forecasts
to 2005

b2b – Strategic threats and opportunities in the automotive supply chain