CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) -- Car sales in Venezuela fell by 46 percent in July, the Venezuelan Automobile Chamber (CAVENEZ) reported Wednesday, as fierce recession and strict state currency controls battered the industry.
A total of 5,608 cars were sold last month compared with 10,371 units a year earlier. Sales in June numbered 5,185.
Accumulated sales during the first seven months of 2003 fell 64 percent to 32,854 units from 91,267 units in the 2002 period.
Car sales have dropped sharply due to an economic downturn and political turmoil over the rule of President Hugo Chavez. A two-month strike in December and January and the tight currency curbs introduced in February also hurt business.
The companies affiliated with CAVENEZ are DaimlerChrysler AG's DaimlerChrysler de Venezuela, Fiat SpA's Fiat Automobiles, Fiat affiliate IVECO Venezuela, Ford Motor Co., General Motors' General Motors de Venezuela, Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s MMC Automotriz and Toyota Motor Corp.'s Toyota de Venezuela.
The figures represented total vehicle sales in Venezuela, and also include car models made by CAVENEZ non-members, such as Mazda Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG.