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Automotive industry in Colombia - statistics & facts

As the fourth largest vehicle manufacturer in Latin America, Colombia's automotive industry has become an emerging player in the regional market. Between motor vehicle manufacturing and the production of auto-parts and accessories, the sector contributed some 2.5 trillion Colombian pesos (nearly one billion U.S. dollars) to the country's GDP in 2019 and employed around 17 thousand workers. Impacted by the global economic blowback from the coronavirus pandemic, Colombia's monthly vehicle sales faced a drastic drop in April 2020. Nevertheless, the sector has since made a significant recovery, with electric vehicles as one of the fastest growing markets.

A friendly market for foreign investment

GM Colmotores – Colombia’s first motor vehicle assembly plant – began operating in 1962. Almost 60 years later, the annual motor vehicle production in the country stood at 60 thousand units. In the meantime, Colombia established itself as a regional manufacturing market for major companies, in particular General Motors and Renault. In fact, these two companies have dominated the Colombian market, in terms of both vehicle sales and production. To further boost foreign investment in the industry, the government has focused on the development of industrial parks and free trade zones. However, and perhaps as a result, the South American nation still relies heavily on external sources to meet its demand, with the value of automotive imports far exceeding that of exports.

Electric vehicles on the rise

While new vehicle sales in Colombia were hit head-on by the coronavirus crisis, electric and hybrid vehicles seem to have prevailed in 2020. That year, over six thousand of these vehicles were registered in the South American country. This is nearly double the figure reported in the previous year, and a six-fold increase when compared to 2018. At the forefront of this trend is Japanese multinational car company Toyota, holding a share of nearly one third of the Colombian electric vehicle market. This advance in electric vehicle sales has been largely a result of the elimination of import tariffs established by the government in December 2019, part of a series of measures aimed at reaching the Paris Agreement emission goals. With the decree in power until 2027, this trend is likely to further gain ground in the coming years.


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Automotive industry in Colombia

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