The month of May closed with the sale of 2,666 new cars sold, reflecting a 69.9% drop in comparison to the 8,862 units sold during the same month last year, the United Automobile Importers Group confirmed.
With these results, the sector has seen a contraction of 48.9% so far in 2020, the trade association said. Auto dealerships were ordered shut in mid-March as part of an islandwide lockdown and curfew the government imposed to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“As we had predicted, when we were allowed to partially open during the last week of the month, the results represented a nearly 70% reduction in comparison to May of last year and basically cut our results in half for the first five months of the year. That is the worst result of any market. The economic impact to the industry has been unprecedented,” said Ricardo M. García, president of GUIA, as the group is known in Spanish.
“The important thing is that we have already resumed operations and the 30,000 families that the industry benefits will work to be part of the island’s economic solution and recovery,” he said.
“This is a good time for consumers who have the need and the desire to buy a car, to do so,” he said.
After the 10-week shutdown, there is a “favorable environment” for the buyer, who will see aggressive dealer offers, lower interest rates, a variety of financing options and low gas prices, García said.
“Our request to the government is that we be allowed to return to regular operating to serve customers much better, keeping up the high sanitation and social distancing standards that we have adopted throughout the industry,” García said.
GUIA is an independent, nonprofit organization that was created in 2006 to address issues that directly concern the automotive industry, and represents the biggest car brands.