*NEWSBITES

Argentina and Chile may be relatively small players as far as global economics are concerned, but when it comes to per capita purchasing power, they have a way of punching above their weight.

New car sales are a good example. A study carried out by the Argentine consulting firm Abeceb found that so far this year, Chileans and Argentines are snatching up more "straight-out-of-the-showroom" vehicles per capita than are Mexicans, Brazilians and even Chinese.

In Brazil and China, the current rate of new car sales per 1,000 residents is 10.7 and 7.6 respectively. Argentines, in contrast, are buying nearly 13 new vehicles per 1,000 residents. In Chile, the rate is 11.6, while in Mexico, only 4.3 new cars are being sold per 1,000 residents. The world leaders in new car sales are Canada (27.8 vehicles) and the United States (23.9).

In the case of Argentina, the numbers are generating a boom for the automotive industry. “This past August, there were 79,826 units sold, 39% more than during the same month last year,” Abeceb reported. The industry expansion is occurring both at the commercial and production level. At this pace, new car sales in Argentina could total approximately 830,000 in 2011.

For a sense of just how strong the Argentine car market is, it’s worth making a comparison with Mexico, where new vehicles sales are also on the rise. “The [Mexican] market grew 10.3% over the first six months of the year, with total sales of 479,000 units.” During that same period, sales in Argentina – which has only a third of Mexico’s population – totaled 517,000 units.

In terms of market growth, Argentina also outpaced the United States, Brazil and China, where new car sales rose 10.9%, 8.6% and 5.5% respectively.

Read more from AméricaEconomía in Spanish

Photo – Blmurch

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations