The United Automobile Importers Group confirmed that a total of 280 units new cars were sold on the island during the month of April, sharply contrasting the 7,352 vehicles sold during the same month a year ago.
That represents a decrease of 96.2% for the month, and a reduction of 43.2% so far in 2020, according to the group known as GUIA. Car sales have plummeted as a result of the islandwide lockdown that began Mar. 16 to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“As we indicated last month, unfortunately what was expected came true. It was the worst month in the history of car sales in Puerto Rico,” said GUIA President Ricardo García.
“The low number of sales registered were to exempt entities and units that could not be registered in March due to the sudden lockdown,” he said.
“The disastrous thing is that from the economic point of view, with the new order, we won’t be able to sell for at least two months and won’t know exactly when we’ll be able to reopen our showrooms. However, we hope that it will be by May 18,” he said.
So, the group estimates that by the end of this month, sales will be at least 50% lower during the first five months of the year, when compared to the same period last year, “and that is also unprecedented,” García said.
“To be able to recover these million-dollar losses and volumes from previous years, it will take years, unless there is an immediate government intervention to provide relief to consumers and to the more than 30,000 Puerto Rican families that make up and depend on this industry,” García said.
To address the “unprecedented times,” García said “calculated, strategic and out-of-the box measures” are needed to steer the industry to the road to recovery.