After more than two years of growing automotive commerce restrictions, Venezuela’s government has now finally banned Colombian-assembled vehicles due to political tensions between the two countries (or more particularly, their respective leaders).

Political tensions surround suspicions of Caraca’s support for insurgent guerrillas in Colmbia and – on the other side – an American army presence in Colombia’s military bases.

The Venezuelan measure means that Colombian assemblers (GM-Colmotores, RenaultSOFASA and Mazda, Ford and Mitsubishi-CCA) won’t sell those 45,000 vehicles they sent to Colombia two years ago.

The loss of shipments to Venezuela means that around 30% of their installed capacity is now going to be unused.

In a year where the market is down 22.2%, assemblers sales are off 16% and importers are down 26%. CCA is having the worst part with an almost 30% of decrease, while Colmotores is -15.6% and Sofasa -11.4%. But the three main importers have also fallen: Hyundai, -5.2%; KIA, -19.3%; and Nissan, -37.5%.

It’s not all bad. One top-ten brand bucked the declining sales trand. Volkswagen has increased sales this year due to the fall of tariffs affecting their Mexico-made imports.

Also, Hino trucks produced its 1,000-mark unit after less than a year production in Colombia.

And Seat inaugurated a brand new dealership at the north-end  of Bogotá in a prosperous automotive zone where a number of manufacturers are concentrated, including Citroën, Hyundai, Renault, Daihatsu, Peugeot and BMW.

The market has accumulated 102,250 vehicles in the first seven months of this year and Econometria statisticians forecast a year of 175,000 units.

Juan Vargas