Car sales in Puerto Rico drop 2.3% in 2017
SAN JUAN – The United Automobile Importers Group (GUIA), an organization that represents the automotive industry in Puerto Rico, presented its results on new car sales for 2017, as well as projections for 2018, which forecast stable sales levels throughout the year.
GUIA President Ricardo García said 2017 ended with a total of 84,080 units being sold, compared with 86,053 units in 2016, which represents a 2.3% sales reduction.
However, the SUV segment’s sales increased 4.2% and commercial vehicles increased 21.1%, reflecting a continuous growth trend over the past years. GUIA projects the auto industry will sell 84,000 to 86,000 units in 2018.
Among the factors considered in its projection were the federal government’s injection of capital to recover from the September 2017 hurricanes, insurance companies’ payments for repair of damages from hurricanes Irma and Maria, tourism’s gradual growth, government austerity measures such as the consolidation of public agencies, a projected increase in interest rates, the reduction in population, a possible increase in unemployment rates and the economic impact after the hurricanes.
“A new year full of new opportunities and great challenges is what the car industry faces, after a year that was marked by two atmospheric phenomena. However, the industry is ready to grow, and we will be working for the benefit of our clients, with more strength and determination,” García said in written statements.
As part of GUIA’s objectives to develop the local car industry, the organization announced it will be offering educational workshops to promote the reconstruction of this sector after the passage of the category 4 storm. The first workshop under the GUIA Educa series will take place on February 21st.
In addition, the group will continue to assist cooperation efforts from charities and initiatives to strengthen the automotive industry “with support from government entities to continue collaborating with the country’s economy, because we will not allow a hurricane to knock us down or define us. We are going to recover,” García said.
GUIA is an independent, nonprofit organization that was created in 2006 to address issues directly related to the automotive industry, as well as Puerto Rico’s general economy. GUIA members represent 23 car brands and more than 96% of new-vehicle sales in Puerto Rico.