New car sales in Puerto Rico showed a 6.5 percent drop in March, a decline that affected many of the most popular brands, including Toyota, Ford and Chrysler, the United Automobile Importers Group known as GUIA revealed Wednesday.
The slowdown is also apparent when looking at the combined results for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which reflected a 6.9 percent slowdown.
“The combined vehicle demand in Puerto Rico and USVI in March registered a volume of 8,364 units versus 8,981 units registered in March 2012, or about 617 units less than the same month last year,” said Jose Ordeix, president of GUIA.
According to the trade group’s report, 8,259 units rolled off Puerto Rico car lots last month, representing 577 fewer units in comparison to the 8,836 sold in March 2012. When looking at both markets, there were 8,364 cars sold in Puerto Rico and the USVI last month, versus the 8,981 units sold during the same month last year. That’s 617 fewer new cars on island roads.
“Despite the low for the month, cumulatively speaking, the industry reflected a slight growth of 3.4 percent,” Ordeix said.
As for individual makes, GUIA’s report shows that Toyota, Puerto Rico’s top-selling brand, sold 546 fewer units last month in comparison to the same month in 2012. Earlier this week, Toyota executives attributed the drop to the end of availability of its popular Yaris model, which was eliminated from the Puerto Rico market earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Ford sold 162 fewer units year-over-year, while Chrysler saw 104 fewer cars leave its Puerto Rico dealerships.