Private enterprise vs. government-owned: A consumer economy beats a command economy, all the way down the road.
Read my article here
Venezuela, where gasoline is almost free but the cars are lousy.
Jesus Silvia’s report on Press TV:
Iran’s car industry has shown signs of enhancing its share in Venezuelan market. The sale of US cars in Venezuela’s market has decreased dramatically since President Nicolas Maduro banned American automakers from using dollars for transactions. Iranian vehicles made by Venirauto group seem to be an alternative to Venezuelans in times of a troubled market.
VENezuela + IRan + AUTO = Venirauto, which is also a handy pun for “coming by car” (venir en auto)
At the 0:40 mark, Francisco Espinoza, president of Venirauto group, “Our achievement is based on inspiration given by our late commander, Hugo Chavez. He wanted Venezuela to ally with Iran, and we’re doing so.”
Compare and contrast the very low-tech plant shown in the video with a Hyundai assembly plant at Kancheepuram district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu October 4, 2012,
or the Volvo trucks assembly plant in South Carolina
One of the reasons Iran is willing to build cars in Venezuela when foreign automakers are leaving is that, as early as 2007, Iran agreed to build platforms in a US$4 billion development of Orinoco delta oil deposits in exchange for Venezuelan investments.
As you would expect from a government-forced monopoly, the cars don’t look jazzy (emphasis added),
The company Venirauto, which is 51% Iranian and 49% Venezuelan, is producing two different models. The first model, the Turpial at a price of Bs. 17 million (US$7,906), is a 4-door sedan based on the old Kia Pride model. The second is the Centauro, at a price of Bs. 23 million (US$11,069), and is based on the Peugeot 405 given that the French firm is the main supplier of engines and technology to the Iranian company. Both models are exempt from Venezuela’s sales tax IVA (Value-added tax), due to a government program to subsidize cars that include Venezuelan production.
The goal is to eventually produce 100% of the cars in Venezuela.
The Peugeot 405 was introduced on 1987 and, according to Wikipedia, is still produced under license in Iran and Egypt but ceased production in France in 1997. The old Kia Pride (not to be confused with the Kia New Pride) was in production from 1987 to 2000.
Don’t expect to find those in Kelley’s Blue Book Top 10 anytime soon.
Can the Venirautos be bullet-proofed?
The Top Gear Christmas special airs this weekend on on December 27 and 28. The lads covered a lot of ground,
And they were run out of town:
Top Gear Christmas Special: What really happened in Patagonia?
Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond arrived in Argentina in September to film the Top Gear Christmas Special. The subsequent fortnight was even more dramatic than they could have imagined
Soon-to-be-former Uruguayan president Pepe Mujica claims that an unnamed Arab sheik (who must have been smoking the Uruguayan government’s most famous crop) has offered to buy Mujica’s VW Beetle for US$1million:
Uruguayan president Jose Mujica receives $1m offer for his blue Beetle
The leader says that an Arab sheikh wanted to buy the car which has become a symbol of his humble style
he joked that he did not sell it because of his dog Manuela, famous for only having three legs.
“When we saw people on Twitter getting upset we took the plate off. But they still attacked us so we made a break for it to our hotel in Ushuaia.
“The mob just descended on the hotel and encircled us. State representatives came and ordered us out of the country.”
Here’s the car that caused the fracas,
This is my car on its last day in Argentina. Note the plates that everyone says caused offence. pic.twitter.com/mCfncbMa6F
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) October 4, 2014
Video of the police escorting them.
They include corruption, political machinations with the state-controlled oil company, and delays and overspending on a multibillion-dollar oil refinery that Brazil needs desperately.
Extreme skiers Auclair and Fransson die in Chile avalanche
Police in Chile have found the bodies of two extreme skiers who had been missing since an avalanche struck a mountain in southern Chile on Tuesday.
Former Haiti president Duvalier diesJean-Claude Duvalier
Haiti’s notorious former ruler Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has died of a heart attack in the capital Port-au-Prince, reports quoting official sources say.
Leader of Cartel Is Captured
The leader of one of Mexico’s largest cartels, Héctor Beltrán-Leyva of the Beltrán-Leyva gang, has been captured, the authorities said Wednesday night, giving President Enrique Peña Nieto another high-profile victory against organized crime.
Hayes agreed to negotiate a long-held border dispute between Argentina and Paraguay, and the decision gave the nation 60 percent of its land.
Venezuela Oil Price Continues Tumbling
Venezuela’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum reports that the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending October 3 fell to its lowest price since January of 2011. The Latin American Herald Tribune notes that the Ministry continues to post an inaccurate average for the year and reduced the average price for the whole of 2013 by $1.41 without explanation
Venezuela: Lawmaker Killed in His Home, Police Say
A day after Robert Serra, a rising star in Venezuela’s governing party, was stabbed to death in his home, officials said Thursday that it was a carefully planned murder.
The week’s posts and podcasts:
Brazil: Aécio goes to the runoff
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
I’m a tax exile, and proud of it
The week’s podcast:
Let’s chat with Alina Garcia-Lapuerta, author of “La Belle Creole”
“There were hundreds of them. They were hurling rocks and bricks at our cars. They were trying to attack us with pickaxe handles.
over a license plate that reminded people of the Falklands.
I kid you not.
The Argentinians call the Falklands the Malvinas, but, all the same, look at this,
The locals had their two minutes of hate, and the lads needed police escort to get out of the country safely.
For the only accurate account of what happened in Argentina, read the Sunday Times tomorrow.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) October 4, 2014
As in Jean-Claude Van,
On second thought, the song is Only time,