After a significant drop of 49 percent in 2009, the outlook for the automotive parts sector is turning positive once again. While industry observers project a steady growth in demand for auto parts over the next five years, it will take at least two years for the market to recover to its 2008 level.
There are more than three million cars, trucks and buses on the roads of Colombia. The country is the third largest automobile assembler in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico. The average age of motor vehicles in circulation is 15 years, a factor that makes Colombia an excellent market for spare parts for older cars. Another factor is driving demand is the frequent need to replace broken parts. Although the road infrastructure in Colombia is improving, nationwide they are in poor to fair condition, increasing the likelihood of damage to vehicles and requiring constant vehicle safety checks.
In 2009, the Colombian automotive sector spiraled downward after three consecutive years of record significant growth. Both imports and local production were sharply curtailed. The 2008 global economic crisis was an important consideration as Colombia’s economic growth slowed to a halt (zero percent). However the most critical factor was Colombia’s second largest trading partner, Venezuela’s decision to break diplomatic relations and suspend cross-border trade on August 6, 2009, a move which negatively affected many industrial sectors in Colombia.
In 2008, the market reached USD 524.7 million representing eight percent growth over 2007. The total market for automotive parts and accessories declined 49 percent in 2009 to USD 351.2 million.
In 2010, the market is expected to increase eight percent to USD 505.7 million, as the global economic crisis slowly dissipates. U.S. imports dominate with 28.9 percent market share, followed by China with 7.6 percent market share. China is becoming a serious competitor in the automotive parts market competing mainly on price. However, consumers are wary of buying Chinese parts because of their perceived lower quality and durability compared to other vendors If U.S. - Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CTPA) by the United States Congress will result in a measurable increase in U.S. exports of automotive parts and accessories to the country. Existing tariffs range from five to thirty percent. When the treaty is implemented, Colombia will eliminate its prohibition of remanufactured automotive goods, as defined in Chapter Four – Rules of Origin; most tariffs will be eliminated within 10 years.
The top U.S. exports to Colombia in this sector are:
• Tires for small vehicles, trucks and buses
• Gasoline and diesel engines, piston rings, cast-iron engine parts, carburetors, engine valves, other cast-iron engine parts, fuel-injection pumps
• Parts of fans, ventilating hoods, air conditioning and parts for motor vehicles
• Ball bearings, tapered roller bearings, roller bearings, gaskets and similar joints of metal sheeting
• Electric storage batteries, nickel-cadmium storage batteries, electrical distribution parts, terminals, electrical splices and electrical couplings, boards, panels, consoles Cabinets for motor vehicles, bodies for passenger automobiles, body stampings, gearboxes, drive axles with differential, suspension shock absorbers, radiators, clutches, suspension systems, parts for power trains, brake parts.
Best sales opportunities over the short and medium term will be determined primarily by the continued demand of the aftermarket and by the demand for parts generated by the equipment already in operation. According to industry and trade sources, local companies plan to manufacture those automotive parts and accessories that will have the largest demand in the local market. Demand for imported equipment will follow the same trend, but the growth brought on by expanded markets created by international trade agreements (such as the CAN-Mercosur, G-2, ALADI, and others) could mean more opportunities for U.S. imports.