Vehicle sales went up by a whopping 117 percent in May compared to the same month last year, but that's mostly because of the severe impact of the March 2011 Japan quake on the succeeding months' automotive sales.
The Commonwealth Auto Dealers Association said yesterday it sold 50 new cars, vans, trucks, and sports utility vehicles in May, compared to only 23 during the same month last year.
CADA's year-to-date sales are also promising, with a 35-percent increase compared to the same period last year.
Douglas Brennan, CADA secretary, said yesterday that dealer inventory levels have recovered from the severe supply problems they had last year due to the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters that hit Japan.
“On a year to year comparative basis, it makes sense the market appears to be growing. Reality is the market has been fairly even since 2007, averaging 500 to 600 vehicles per year. We are hoping to end the year in that same range,” Brennan told Saipan Tribune.
Microl Corp. sold 25 new vehicles, up 150 percent from only 10 last year. This brings its year-to-date sales to 133, an increase of 62 percent from last year. Microl is the authorized dealer of Toyota and Chevrolet.
Triple “J” Motors's May sales increased by 50 percent, from 10 last year to 15 this year. Its year-to-date sales reached 36 percent. Triple “J” Motors is the distributor of Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Suzuki and Mazda.
Joeten Motors saw a sharp sales increase of 233 percent, from three last year to 10 this year. The local dealer of Nissan, Ford, Honda and Kia, Joeten Motors posted a year-to-date sales increase of 1.52 percent.
Of the 50 new vehicles sold in May, 24 were cars, 12 were SUVs, 10 were trucks, and four were vans.
Among cars, Hyundai Elantra was the most sought after in May with five units sold. This was followed by Toyota Corolla with four units sold, and Hyundai Accent and Mazda3 with three units each sold. Other cars sold were two each of Kia Forte and Toyota Yaris, and one each of Ford Taurus, Honda Civic, Kia Soul, Toyota Camry and Toyota Prius.
Toyota RAV4 dominated the SUV sales with four units sold in May. The other SUVs sold last month were two each of Toyota 4 Runner and Toyota Highlander, and one each of Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Hyundai Veracruz and Nissan Rogue.
Of the 10 trucks sold in May, seven were Toyota Tacoma and three were Ford Ranger.
The four vans sold last month included two each of Mazda5 and Toyota Sienna.
CADA also sold 25 used vehicles in May, bringing to 106 the total sold during the first five months of the year.
Vehicle dealers have been using marketing promotions to help boost sales amid a slow economy. Microl, for example, will be launching the 2013 Corolla in early August and conduct a three-month long joint promotion with IP&E (Shell) and Elegant Reflections (MOC-Guam) for service customers who buy a Gold Package Vehicle Service. Microl also continues its AC Delco Battery recycling program, wherein it buys old, used automobile batteries for $5 each provided they are not damaged or leaking.
“It is our way of keeping the CNMI environmentally safe and free of lead-acid contamination,” added Brennan, general manager of Microl Corp. and president of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce.