This Economist piece is tapped by Fausta to explain “socialist production principles” in the Venezuela of Hugo Chávez:
Venirauto’s cars are rehashes of clapped-out 1980s models from the imperialist West. The Turpial, a five-door hatchback, is based on the Ford Festiva, while the Centauro saloon is a clone of the Peugeot 405, though both are fitted with a conversion kit allowing them to run on natural gas. Their capitalist-busting claims are based on price: they undercut rival models by around 50%. If you can get one, that is.
What the Economist doesn’t mention is this: only 49 percent of Venirauto, the ostensible national Venezuelan car company, is actually owned by the Chávez government; the balance is Iranian-owned. And the two models Venirauto is peddling are barely-rebadged versions of Iranian models, the Centauro by Iran Khodro, the Turpial by Saipa (though Saipa is working with the Kia Pride fork of the Festiva line). The price difference? Quite apart from the fact that these are old models, the tooling long since amortized, Caracas has decreed that Venirauto sales are exempt from VAT. In the States, we might call that a subsidy.
You won’t learn this from Venirauto’s Web site, either.