Venezuelan Government Cracking Down on Used Car Market

Driving it into the black market


Own a car? Want a car? Be very, very afraid: the government's proposed Used Car Law could well mean the end of legal market for used cars in Venezuela, crippling one of the most popular means of shielding savings against the ravages of inflation at the same time.

One thing the government is right about: Venezuela's car market is bizarrely distorted. With new car prices carefully controlled, import dollars strictly limited, and demand for wheels way outstripping supply, Venezuela must be one of the only places in the world where cars raise in value the second they move off the lot. With people forced to turned to fix assets to protect the value of their savings, waiting lists for new cars have grown notoriously long. These days, new cars are just another arbitrage opportunity; a steel-rubber-and-glass version of a CADIVI dollar.