Automotive sales in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands went into a freefall last month, when results were down 15 percent in comparison to the same month last year, the United Automobile Importers Group (known as GUIA for its initials in Spanish) informed Tuesday.
Sales reached 6,430 units, or 1,136 fewer than those sold in April 2013, when 7,566 cars rolled off Puerto Rico’s lots.
Results for the first four months of the year are not positive either, the trade group said. Automakers sold a combined 29,718 units, which reflects a 6.1 percent drop when compared to the 31,664 cars sold during the same period in 2013.
When compared to March, last month’s sales represented a 25.8 percent reduction, GUIA said in a report released Tuesday.
“The month of April has brought us a marked reduction in industry sales. It is the month with the lowest sales so far this year, in fact we had not seen such a month since April 2010,” said GUIA President José Ordeix. “Moreover, three of the last four months have reflected a decrease in sales results. We continue seeing a worrisome pattern of sustained contraction with a cumulative reduction in sales of -6.1%.”
If the pattern were to continue, the sector could experience a year with results similar to those reported in 2011, when some 90,000 cars were sold, he said.
“We recognize that we are experiencing a worrying trend in the industry, largely due to the economic uncertainty that prevails on the island, which undoubtedly impacts the cost of living for our customers,” he said.
“It is inevitable that in this picture, consumers postpone purchases such as a new car. Nevertheless, we continue working closely with our parent companies and business partners to provide the highest quality products and services to Puerto Rican consumers,” Ordeix added.
When broken down by brands, most of the island’s most popular names took a hit last month, including market leader Toyota, which sold about 450 fewer Toyotas, Scion and Lexus vehicles. Ford also saw its sales drop by 25.4 percent, with 188 fewer units sold in April.
GUIA is an independent nonprofit, created in 2006 to address issues that directly concern the automotive industry and Puerto Rico’s overall economy. GUIA members represent more than 96 percent of new vehicle sales in Puerto Rico.