Sales of new vehicles in Argentina collapsed by almost 50 percent in the first quarter of 2019, the Association of Automobile Dealers of Argentina (ACARA) said Monday.
Sales fell by 49.5 percent in the year-on-year comparison, with purchases down 50.4 percent in March year-on-year too, said ACARA. In the monthly comparison, March saw a drop of 3.1 percent on February sales. The chamber described that as the first time in 17 years that the month of March had seen lower sales than in the month of Fenruary.
Compared to the same months the previous year, January 2019 saw sales drop 50.1 percent, with February dropping 42.5 percent year-on-year.
In total, 139,086 vehicles (locally produced and imported) were sold in the first three months of the year, compared to 275,555 in the same three months of 2018.
"These are months with extremely worrying numbers, and in order to see a first quarter like this one, where patents [ [the registration of new cars] did not exceed 140,000 units, we must refer to 2006, a year that ended with 450,000 [new registrations]," said ACARA President Dante Álvarez.
The automotive industry is experiencing severe difficulties in Argentina, with a number of staff being laid off. Official data shows the sector is running at just 25 percent of its potential capacity.
The president of Acara pointed to a lack of funding and the increasing tax pressure as complicating factors for a sector "that employs more than 70,000 people directly."