Family car tax break drives Venezuela sales

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CARACAS--Car sales within Venezuela's Family Vehicle Program 2000 continue to pick up steam, with August sales a full 32% higher than July. The program is designed to help families hard hit by the economic crisis to acquire automobiles, while reactivating the automotive industry by making not only sales to the public tax free but also all elements used in assembly.

Launched 10 months ago by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry with the collaboration of majorcarmakers, Family Vehicle Program 2000 gives motorists a wide choice of economy transport: Ford Festiva, the Corsa from General Motors Corp., Renault Twingo and R-19, Hyundai Accent and the Valet 323 from Mazda.

Prices range from $6,500 to $8,800, about 20% less than they would be if they did not participate in the program.

A total 23,052 cars were sold under the plan from January to the end of August, says Commerce & Industry Vice Minister Gonzalo Bello. A total 3,503 cars were sold in August compared with 2,654 in July. Vehicles marketed under the plan have now captured a 25% share of market.

Mr. Bello says export of the low-priced cars to other countries in the region will soon be under way, following an agreement with Colombia and Ecuador at the last meeting of the Andean Vehicle Committee.

Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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