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P.R.’s new car sales come to a halt in April with a 9.3% Y-O-Y drop

The United Automobile Importers Group (known as GUIA for its initials in Spanish) reported a 9.3% drop in sales during April 2019, when compared to the same month last year.

The organization that represents the automotive industry in Puerto Rico said the month ended with a total of 7,352 units sold in Puerto Rico in contrast to sales of 8,105 units during April 2018.

With the reduction in sales reflected last month, the growth curve the industry had achieved so far so far this year has been reduced to 6.1%. Furthermore, fleet sales decreased by 64.2% compared to the previous month.

“It is the first time since 2017 that we have one month below the same month of the previous year. Unfortunately, in April the pattern of constant growth we had for more than a year was not reflected,” said GUIA President Ricardo M. García

“As an industry, we are closely monitoring the market’s behavior,” he said.

The segment that suffered the greatest impact were vans with a reduction of 24.1%, followed by the sub-compact sedans segment, which had a decrease of 17.7% compared to the previous year.

When broken down by manufacturer, the report shows that in April, Mazda took a hit with a 52.1% drop in sales, while Kia showed a 24.1% drop, as did several luxury brands like Fiat (-71.1%), and Audi, (-54.1%). Surprisingly, Toyota — a usual frontrunner in sales — also saw a sales drop of 7%, while Nissan’s numbers dropped by 15.3%, the report showed.

“We’re concerned about the slowdown in sales and urge that efforts continue to get federal funds allocated for the island’s recovery. Uncertainty complicates future investments and further growth,” García said.

GUIA will be sponsoring a seminar on May 23 at the Vivo Beach Club focusing on “Puerto Rico’s Outlook-Challenges & Initiatives toward 2020,” that will include a list of speakers headed by Gov. Ricardo Roselló.

GUIA is an independent, nonprofit organization that was created in 2006 to address issues directly related to the automotive industry, as well as issues related to the general economy of Puerto Rico. The members of GUIA represent 23 car brands and more than 96% of the total of new vehicles sales in Puerto Rico.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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