Fleet Orders Spearhead a 25.4% Increase in New-Auto Sales in April
SAN JUAN– A 90% jump in fleet orders helped new-auto sales increase 25.4% in April, becoming the industry’s first positive month in more than two years, the United Automobile Importers Group (GUIA by its Spanish acronym) announced Tuesday.
According to GUIA, some 7,040 new units were sold last month, a 25.4%, or 1,424 additional new units than April 2015. Year-to-date sales as of last month amounted to 25,459 units, down 0.1%, or 20 fewer units than same period last year.
In January, new-auto sales fell a whopping 12.1%, the worst January ever on record for the local auto industry. In February, new-auto sales dropped 4.3%, while in March new-auto sales fell 5.6%.
The island’s auto distributors closed last year down 7.8%, with 81,357 units sold—the local auto industry’s second worst year on record.
A breath of fresh air for the industry
GUIA President Ricardo García said last month’s positive results were a breath of fresh air for the industry, after experiencing a marked contraction in 25 out of the last 28 months.
In García’s view, April sales were helped by several factors, including the month having five weekends, which allowed dealers additional days for strong sales. In addition, Holy Week didn’t fall in April like last year, which increased the amount of viable sales days for consumers, meaning fewer people were on spring break vacations.
“Another determining factor was the increase in fleet sales, with a whopping 90.7% jump over same month last year, which we attribute to the marked increase in tourism we’ve been experiencing. By the same token, the most important factor for the positive month of April was the aggressive incentives and rebates offers from distributors and dealers, to move their new-vehicle inventory, in light of an even greater economic contraction arising from the government’s default in May, and even greater ones coming in the months ahead,” García commented.
In addition, the island’s auto finance companies continued to support the local auto industry with low interest rates, coupled with low gasoline prices, he said.
“That’s why we continue to insist that for those with the need or the desire, this has been the best time in years to buy a new vehicle. If new-auto sales continue to increase, so will government revenues. It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” García indicated.