The steady revaluation of the Colombian peso against the US dollar saw the central bank make two announcements – about GDP growth of 3% by the end of 2010 and the lowering of the interbank credit rate to 3%. That and an optimistic presidential race have helped the automotive market grow 15.4% year to date.

Colombian currency has been steady below the two peso per dollar mark, helping both car importers and assemblers keep costs down. This currency stability has particularly helped assemblers grow market share to 54% – the three main brands are Chevrolet, Renault and Mazda.

Renault is adding a shift after sales this year increased 43% supplying both Colombia and export markets. This will mean 274 new jobs from the end of May.

Right now, Renault employs 1,133 workers, assembles 156 vehicles a day, sold 3,211 units in the first four months of 2010 and expects a 32,000 vehicle tally by the end of the year.

Chevrolet launched the imported, Korean-assembled Cruze to compete with the, also recently launched, redesigned Mazda 3, assembled here in Bogotá, while the new SM3 Renault Scala is also imported from Korea.

Kia launched the Cadenza; Volkswagen the Amarok pickup (from Brazil); Jeep the Wrangler Sport X; and BMW the new 5 Series sedan and Gran Turismo.

Juan Manuel García, executive manager of Econometría SA, said: “Considering the healthy numbers, the Colombian Automotive Committee has increased its sales expectations and estimates volume will grow 12.5% to over 210,000 vehicles in 2010.”

The top 10 growth brands are Fiat, 396%; Dodge, 175%; Audi, 109%; Jaguar, 100%; Ssangyong, 98%; Kia, 96%; Nissan, 87%; Toyota, 75%; Jeep, 65%; Volvo, 65%; and Seat, 63%.