A record 711.000 cars were sold in Chile's Metropolitan Region in 2006, up 7.6% more vehicles than last year.
Chile's automobile sales have grown steadily the past six years, with consumers continually opting for more expensive cars. Sales for cars valued over 20.000 US dollars increased by almost 16% in 2006, and 4.8% of all car sales are for new cars. This means 191.000 new vehicles transiting the streets of Santiago. Record high gasoline prices notwithstanding, sales of petrol-guzzling SUV's registered a 4.7% increase and have become one of the strongest markets in the industry during the past three years. This is due not only to increased spending levels in the population, but also to aggressive marketing efforts by automobile companies and large expenditures on publicity. However the Chilean government remains hopeful that a massive joint new urban transport system, Transantiago plan will help release some of the pressure from Santiago's overcrowded streets. Transantiago will integrate Santiago's bus and rail transport systems, significantly reducing the number of buses on the streets. It is slated to begin in February, 2007, after several postponements. Its successful implementation may have an effect on private transport sales. The Santiago Times - News about Chile