Mérida, 3rd May 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – An online system for the sale of cars manufactured by the Venezuelan state began operations today.
The system aims to facilitate the sale of state-assembled autos to citizens while side-stepping what officials say are speculative car dealerships.
“The idea of this project is that citizens obtain their vehicles at a fair price without getting trapped in networks of speculation. The vision of this plan is to simplify the red-tape [of car sales],” said industries minister Ricardo Menendez to Venezuelan media last week.
In the system, those interested in purchasing a state-assembled car create a user account, entering their salary and selecting which models interest them. They are then offered a loan agreement from a public bank, which is offered at a lower interest rate than commercial banks.
Once the customer’s request is approved they receive a message with the date and dealership where they can pick up their new car.
Offered through the system are the Turpial and Centauro models, produced in conjunction with Iran, and the Arauca and Orinoco models, which are manufactured through an agreement with Chinese company Chery.
According to Menendez, the Venezuelan state has assembled a total of 28,900 cars so far, making it the third-largest national auto assembler. The minister lauded this as the fruit of agreements signed by late President Hugo Chavez, who sought to diversify Venezuela’s economy and international relations.
“We used to be a neo-colony; we didn’t even dream of assembling our own cars,” declared Menendez.
In recent years shortages have been experienced in the Venezuelan auto-market, causing market prices to be much higher than international equivalents.
Auto industry representatives blame the situation on a lack of government-approved dollars for car imports and assembly. However, state officials attribute the situation to price speculation and hoarding by auto dealers, who are accused of acting like a “mafia” toward the Venezuelan public.
A law to regulate and control car sales is currently making its way through the National Assembly, with some of its individual articles already approved.
Known as the Law to Regulate the Buying and Selling of New and Used Vehicles, it sets a price ceiling for new cars and used cars of up to 10 years old, and mandates heavy fines for car dealers caught selling at higher prices.