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Colombia: Businessman blocks Hyundai sales in commercial dispute

 |  July 19, 2016

The long-standing feud between Colombian businessman Carlos Mattos (best known in the country for his business of selling vehicles for taxis and other transport services) and Korean multinational Hyundai, has recently been turned up a notch.

Mattos, a former partner of the Asian car-maker, has obtained a court order which prevents Hyundai’s new distributor, Neocorp, from importing and selling the car-maker’s products within the country. Gustavo Lenis, CEO of Neocorp, has strongly condemned the measure, saying the move could deal a serious blow to foreign investment in the country. “The judge’s decision is more destructive to the market and to the rights of consumers than many decisions taken by dictatorial governments” said Mr Lenis.

Spokespeople for Hyundai have likewise said that the measure goes too far towards favoring the plaintiff’s interests, effectively blocking the entry of a new distributor. The move has effectively paralyzed sales, affecting consumers.

Mattos has remained defiant, moving quickly to deliver yet another blow to his former business associates. Mattos has said it will re-enter the taxi market in partnership with Chinese carmaker Chery. Mattos made a name for himself in this industry years ago, when he joined Hyundai to popularize the small taxi cabs (nicknamed ‘zapaticos’, or ‘little shoes’) that cruise Colombia’s streets.

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