Dude, where's my car battery?

Hello! Is it me you’re looking for?

A new criminal trend has appeared in recent weeks in Caracas and other cities: the theft of car batteries in plain sight.

Many people are reporting that their cars are being stripped of their batteries, which will probably end up in the black market, because (surprise!) … there’s a shortage of those in the last few months. And along with it, retail prices have sky-rocketed as well.

Linked to this, we recall the news back in November of the State’s intervention of two major car battery makers, Duncan and Titan. Perhaps you remember it, or perhaps the news got lost during the whole CaDakazo hoopla.

The catch is that the entity which took over both companies is the consumer protection agency INDEPABIS. In fact, they went even further in December by taking over other related companies “temporarily”. So, a government agency dedicated to protect consumers is now charge of administrating several companies importing and selling car batteries. Jeez… what could go wrong with that?

Well, to make matters worse, INDEPABIS is no more. Maduro announced last week that it will be merged with the Costs and Prices Superintendency (SUNDECOP) to create a brand new super agency: the Fair Prices Superintendency (don’t ask), leaving only uncertainty to Venezuelan drivers and of course, Eduardo Saman’s tears of unfathomable sadness.

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    • You can also include Fulgor. They used to be independent companies, but Duncan bought them one y onel. Duncan was the fancy brand, and Titan and Fulgor were less fancy and less expensive (Like Rolls and Bentley …)

    • Not true: actually battery life is inversely proportional to engine room temperature. A battery with some foam insulation around lasts more. I had the original Duncan battery in my car last 4 years

  1. I have been trying to find a Duncan battery in PLC for a week now, no luck. Guess it’s good for the taxi business. I have a friend with a slow tire leak but cannot get it fixed because no tire glue available.Christ, what next?

  2. Normally, this would be an ideal opportunity for an entrepreneur to jump into action and make a big profit while filling a market need. Right?

  3. I believe that part of the problem is sourcing the lead, antimony and now plastic for the cases which must be imported. Duncan set up their “Technical Centers” were they will do a free battery and alternator check, and will sell a new battery at dealer price, if you leave them your old battery which is recycled. This program is not new, probably more than 25 years old. By the way I dont work there, they were a Quality Model company, they had a Manager (Silvano Gelleni) who really believed in quality in the late 80´s and 90´s. I had been told that there is a new management today (more or less close to the Government…)

    • The Gelleni’s, Silvano and son Gianni, were as far as I knew, the owners, not just the managers.

      I sold Gianni a Ferrari BB-512 back in the day, which he promptly overturned on the Caracas-Valencia highway and completely totalled less than a month after buying it.

        • Nope, he was doing about 160 kph on the straight between La Encrucijada and Maracay when he had to brake for a slow moving truck that decided the fast lane was the place to be. Lost control, flipped the car several times, didn’t land in the ditch by an act of God, and walked away from it. Seatbelts, my friends, are useful.

          The car was totaled, so he got a Testarossa to replace it.
          Far as I know he kept that one intact!

  4. Thieves will take anything they can! There’s a trend in the UK at the moment where thieves are stealing wheels – they smash the back window, get the locking nut and take two of your wheels off… then come back for the other two the day after – obviously you can’t drive your car off with two missing wheels so it’s a sitting duck!


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