Car sales in Chile hit all-time high and reflect economic boom

New figures show that automobile sales are expected to hit a record high of 280,000 in 2010, up 63 percent from sales in 2009 during the global financial crisis.


Car sales in Chile are expected to reach an all-time high of 280,000 units in 2010, up 63 percent from the previous year, according to a report from the Chilean National Automobile Association (Anac).

The report says that new car sales are expected to reach 600,000 units over the two year 2010-2011 period, an increase of roughly 200,000 or 50 percent from the 2008-2009 period.

Growth in the motor industry indicates growing consumer confidence in Chile’s robust economy. In 2009, the year of the global financial crisis, car sales plummeted in Chile by 28 percent to just over 170,000. The enormous growth in 2010 corresponds to Chile’s remarkable and speedy financial recovery, marked by seven consecutive months of economic growth.

In October, the total sales for 2010 had already reached nearly 230,000, about two thirds of these within Santiago’s Metropolitan Region. The automotive sector expects to sell a further 320,000 vehicles in 2011.

According to the National Institute of Statistics, in 2009 Chile had approximately one car for every 6.1 inhabitants, a total of 3 million vehicles. In 2010 this number could to rise to one car for every 4.8 people, according to the estimate of Anac Secretary General Gustavo Castellanos in Chilean newspaper La Tercera.

The majority of new cars purchased in 2010 were passenger vehicles like sedans, minivans and station wagons, accounting for more than half of new car sales. Commercial vehicles accounted for 27 percent of sales, while SUVs accounted for only 18 percent.

Sales of all three vehicle types are expected to increase in 2011, with passenger vehicle sales to increase by 18 percent.