The United Group of Automobile Importers predicted Wednesday that this year’s car sales will range from 82,000 to 84,000 units, a slight drop from 2016’s results.
The group known as GUIA for its initials in Spanish, said in 2016 a total of 86,053 new units were sold in Puerto Rico, compared to 81,357 units sold in 2015, which represents a 5.8 percent increase, mostly due to a 14.2 percent increase in fleet sales.
Factors taken into consideration for this year’s slightly conservative forecast include the fiscal scenario on the island and possible measures that might need to be taken this year to face this situation, which will increase consumer uncertainty, as well as the decrease in population experienced in the past years, which is expected to continue throughout 2017.
“Even though in 2016 for the first time in three years we experienced a slight sales increase, it was in fact the third worst year in recent sales history,” said Ricardo M. García, GUIA president.
“Fleet sales reflected the highest percentage increase in 2016, which is considered a reflection of the improvement in the tourism industry and not necessarily a change in sales pattern from retail consumers,” he said.
“As we face the new decade, we are confident that the new government can be instrumental to economic development in Puerto Rico. Likewise, our business partners, banks and insurance companies, have contributed to making the vehicles accessible to Puerto Rican consumers, thus allowing this slight increase,” García added.
GUIA is an independent, nonprofit organization created in 2006 to manage issues directly related to the automobile industry, as well as Puerto Rico’s general economy. GUIA members represent 23 auto brands and over 96 percent of total new vehicle sales in Puerto Rico.