New-Auto Sales Slide 5.6% in March, Off 7.3% for Year
SAN JUAN – Despite strong fleet sales, the slump in new-auto sales continued unabated last month, with island distributors reporting that sales were down 5.6% in March from the same month last year, the United Automobile Importers Group (GUIA by its Spanish acronym) announced Monday.
According to GUIA, some 6,683 new units were sold last month, a 5.6%, or 396 fewer, than in March 2015. Year-to-date sales as of last month amounted to 18,419 units, down 7.3%, or 1,444 fewer, than the same period last year.
In January, new-auto sales fell a whopping 12.1%, the worst January on record for the local auto industry. In February, new-auto sales dropped 4.3%. 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.
Fleet sales were up 12.3% last month, while retail sales fell 7.2%, according to the GUIA report.
With another month of new-auto sales contraction, GUIA President Ricardo García said the island’s auto industry continues experiencing “difficult times.”
“It is imperative to continue vigilant to the variety of recent events within the island’s economic and financial environment. Ours, like many other industries, has continued to make adjustments to temper the business to the current situation. Nevertheless, this means this is a great time for consumers to acquire a new vehicle with greater fuel efficiency, in addition to the prevailing low interest rates, cheaper gas prices, and the aggressive offers and value-added incentives by auto dealers,” García commented.