Fleet Purchases Push New-Auto Sales Up 11% in August
SAN JUAN – Fleet purchases spearheaded an increase in new-auto sales for the fifth month in a row in August, but the local auto industry warns there’s no recovery trend yet, the United Automobile Importers Group (GUIA by its Spanish acronym) announced last week.
According to GUIA, some 6,810 new units were sold last month, an 11% increase, or 708 more new units than in August 2015. Year-to-date sales as of last month amounted to 53,717 units, up 4.4%, or 2,244 more units than same period last year.
Ricardo García, president of GUIA, noted the fact there’s a minimal increase in sales over the same period last year does not necessarily make them conclude there’s a positive trend or recovery in the island’s auto industry.
“We have previously been at sales levels below the average for several years in a row, and this year’s totals are not that different from last year’s, one of the worst of the past decades,” García indicated.
In fact, the highest sales increases of the past five months have come from fleet sales and not front retail sales, the GUIA president noted.
During August, the 336 fleet units sold represented a 25.4% sales increase over same month last year, whereas the 6,474 retail units sold last month were an 11% increase from August of 2015.
Year to date as of August, there have been 47,851 retail units sold, up 2.9% from same period last year, and 5,866 fleet units sold, up 17.9% from same period in 2015, the GUIA report indicates.
Fleet sales usually peak in the summer and winter, during the local tourism’s high seasons.
Japanese brands up 15.5%
Japanese automakers, the dominant group in the local market, reported 3,717 total units sold in August, a 15.5% or 499-unit increase from same month last year, with a 54.6% share of the market. All but two Japanese brands reported positive sales last month.
Domestics down 3.3%
Cumulative sales by domestic automakers FCA Group (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram), General Motors (GMC, Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac) and Ford (Ford and Lincoln) in August reached 981 units, down 3.3% from same month in 2015, with a 14.4% overall share of the market.
Of the three domestic automakers, only General Motors reported positive sales, up 12.9% against same month last year.
Koreans up 14.9%
Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia together sold 1,689 units last month, up 14.9% from same month last year, with a combined 24.8% market share. Both Hyundai and Kia posted positive sales, up 11.5% and 19%, respectively, versus August of last year.
Europeans up 5.8%
European brands sold a combined 423 units during the eighth month of the year, up 5.8% from August 2015, with a 6.2% share of the market.
Practically all European brands, except three, reported higher sales in August than same month last year.