COLOMBIA: Sales hit a new record in 2011

By Juan Vargas | 6 January 2012

An estimated 5.5% growth in the nation's economy and expectations for better in 2012 are among the reasons vehicle sales reached a new record in Colombia last year.

Volume rose 27.8% year on year to 324,570 units.

Even more vehicles would have been sold if the peso had not diminished in value against the US dollar in the second half. First half average rate was COP1,800 to the dollar, COP1,900 in the latter part of the year.

So vehicle prices rose, reducing sales. Usually, 60% of new vehicles are sold in the second half; it was barely 50% in 2011.

The market was led by Chevrolet, Renault, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, Ford, Volkswagen and Dodge. Locally assembled brands (Chevrolet, Renault and Mazda) took a 51 6% share.

BMW headed the premium segment followed by Mercedes Benz, Audi, Volvo, Land Rover, Porsche and Jaguar. Sales of 6,700 units was a bit more than 2% of the total.

A recent report by Econometria consultants said 2011 was the third consecutive year of vehicle sales growth and predicted at least 300,000 units for 2012. But other analysts told just-auto another record year was likely depending on how the peso goes.

But government authorities are thinking about what to do about the dense traffic jams in major cities here.

The reason is in the data: in the last five years, strong auto sales have pushed over 1.2m new vehicles out onto the streets.

That means the country’s fleet grew 25% while the national road network was expanded just 2%.