Saturday, May 17, 2008

Uruguayan Wheels

For most of the 20th century, Uruguay had a limited industrial base that never included automobiles, which were invariably imported at great expense. One result of this, still visible on the streets of Montevideo, Colonia, and other Uruguayan cities, was the survival of antique autos known as cachilas, about which I wrote an earlier post. Because of foreign collectors, these mobile tourist attractions are gradually disappearing from Uruguayan streets, roads and highways, though many remain in private local collections and museums open to the public.

Soon, though, cachilas will no longer be Uruguay's only automotive export. Last year, a Chinese-Argentine-Uruguayan consortium began production of Tiggo vans, which are already on the street in Montevideo. Within a month, the first units will be crossing the River Plate to take their chances in Argentine traffic.

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