Now that General Motors is pulling out of Venezuela, the question on the minds of industry analysts and local auto workers is: Who's next?
While GM was embroiled in legal troubles of its own that led to the government seizure and shuttering of its Venezuela plant last week -- an action the company said was taken "in total disregard" of its "right to due process" -- it's hardly news that the entire local auto industry is moribund, with nearly zero production and only a trickle of new-vehicle sales after years of economic free fall.
In fact, GM hadn't made a single car at its Venezuelan factory in more than a year. In the first two months of 2017, Ford and Mitsubishi's local manufacturing partner were fully idle as well, according to the latest numbers from the Automotive Chamber of Ven-ezuela, and Fiat Chrysler and Toyota made just 226 vehicles between them.
Even so, global automakers have been hanging on to their Venezuela assets, paying idled employees and writing off millions of dollars in losses for their South American operations for years, according to analysts and financial statements.
But now, GM's departure and an escalating clash between the government and the opposition may embolden competing automakers to lock up and walk away as well.