Cavenez, the Venezuelan National Automotive Council, announced that 216,977 new cars were sold in 2001, writes Rogério Louro Alves.

This represents an increase of 49.3 percent over the 145,306 units shifted in 2000.

Growth in the Venezuelan market has been stimulated by the government program of “familiar cars”, launched in 2000. Each car maker in Venezuela can select two cars with 1.4- or 1.6-litre engine to be sold tax-free with special finance plans.

Thanks to the incentive, Venezuela’s car makers sold 64,500 “familiar cars” last year, taking 29.7 percent of total car sales.

General Motors, Ford, Renault, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Toyota all sell “familiar cars” in Venezuela.