The United Automobile Importers Group (known as GUIA for its initials in Spanish), raised a red flag Thursday over the unstoppable slide Puerto Rico’s auto sales have gone into over the past five months, a trend upheld in June, when activity was down 15.8 percent.
Members of the organization that represents the Puerto Rico automotive industry released the most recent figures for June, which showed that sales reached 7,814 units, or 1,465 fewer vehicles than the same month last year. The result reflects a 19.3 percent drop in retail sales and a 2.5 percent drop in corporate fleets, which accounts for the global drop.
The cumulative demand in Puerto Rico for the January to June 2014 period totaled 44,747 units, reflecting a decrease of 8.1 percent, compared to sales of 48,679 units registered during the same period of 2013.
“In June we saw the largest drop experienced by the market in the last 12 months. In fact, we had not seen such a low result for June in our industry since 2011,” said José Ordeix, president of GUIA.
“Deteriorating consumer confidence in the economy, reduced purchasing power, high operating costs of businesses, the extreme tax burden and the decline in traffic to dealers have put the auto industry in an extremely precarious situation, which has forced us to revise our sales projections for the year to 90,000 units, representing a decrease of 10 percent compared to 2013,” he said.
“While distributors and dealers are working hard to keep the industry afloat and sustain job levels, we urge the government to work hand in hand with this important sector of the local trade so that together, we can reactivate Puerto Rico’s economy,” said Ordeix.
GUIA members represent 96 percent of the total new vehicle sales in Puerto Rico.