Non-Fleet Purchases Pushed New-Auto Sales up 0.5% in August
SAN JUAN – For the first time in five months, non-fleet or retail purchases spearheaded an increase in new-auto sales in September, but the local auto industry warns there’s no recovery trend yet, the United Automobile Importers Group (GUIA by its Spanish acronym) announced last weekend.
According to GUIA, some 6,270 new units were sold last month, a 0.5% increase, or 33 additional units compared with September 2015. Year-to-date sales as of last month amounted to 59,987 units, up 3.9%, or 2,277 more than same period last year.
Ricardo García, president of GUIA, said the fact there is a minimal increase in sales over the same period last year doesn’t necessarily mean a recovery of the island’s auto industry is taking place.
“When observing that minimal 0.5% sales increase, we reiterate we cannot conclude the local auto industry has recovered. As an example, if we compare September sales with August, we can see there was practically no growth, with a mere 0.5% increase. Quite possibly, 2016 could end up being the local auto industry’s third worst year on record,” García commented.
By the same token, fleet sales, which had been spearheading local new-auto sales for the past four months, fell 65.2% last month, while retail sales jumped 5.5%, García indicated.
During September, the 153 fleet units sold represented 287 fewer units than same month last year, whereas the 6,117 retail units sold last month represented a 320-unit increase from September 2015.
Year to date as of September, 53,968 retail units were sold, up 3.2%, or 1,674 units, compared with the same period last year; and 6,019 fleet units were sold, up 11.1% or 603 units from same period in 2015, the GUIA report indicates.
Japanese brands up 1.4%
Japanese automakers, the dominant group in the local market, reported 3,349 total units sold in September, a 1.4%, or 46-unit, increase from same month last year, with a 53.4% share of the market. Top Japanese sellers include Lexus, Toyota, Acura, Nissan and Honda.
Domestics down 9.2%
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 1,061 units, down 9.2% from same month in 2015, with a 16.9% overall share of the market.
All three domestic automakers reported negatives sales in September versus the same month last year.
Koreans up 13.8%
Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia together sold 1,461 units last month, up 13.8% from same month last year, with a combined 23.3% market share. Of the two, only Hyundai posted positive sales with 918 units sold, up 52.5% versus August of last year.
Europeans down 17%
European brands sold a combined 399 units during the ninth month of the year, down 17% from September 2015, with a 6.4% share of the market.
Only four European brands, namely Jaguar, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, reported higher sales in September than for the same month last year.