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El Paso County new car market can't keep up in October with hail-helped sales last year

November 14, 2017 Updated: November 14, 2017 at 4:55 pm
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photo - These new Subaru vehicles were photographed at Heuberger Subaru in Motor City Wednesday, January 6, 2016. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
These new Subaru vehicles were photographed at Heuberger Subaru in Motor City Wednesday, January 6, 2016. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

El Paso County's new car and truck market took a big step backward last month from a year ago, even though the October total was the second-highest this year, says a report from the county Clerk and Recorder's Office.

That's because the number of vehicles registered in October 2016 was inflated by a massive hailstorm that July. The 2,410 new vehicles registered this October were down 20.5 percent from the 3,030 registered in October 2016, the highest monthly total in more than 11 years. Registrations have increased in five of the past seven months.

Registrations for the first 10 months of the year remain up 4.9 percent at 22,524, and they're likely to finish the year ahead of 2016, perhaps reaching a 12-year high. Registrations have averaged 2,252 vehicles a month so far this year and must average just 2,009 a month in November and December to pass last year's total.

Even with the drop, "2017 has been a good year for the Colorado Springs Auto Dealers Association, and year-end incentives will provide an excellent finish," Phill Emmert, executive director of the association, said Tuesday in an email.

Monthly totals for eight of the top 10-selling makes declined from a year ago, with Ford and Nissan reporting the only gains. Ford registrations rose 24.6 percent to 375 to remain the top-selling make, and Nissan registrations were up 20.9 percent to 156.

Subaru and Honda accounted for more than half of the October drop, with Subaru registrations falling 43.3 percent to 244 and Honda registrations declining 48.4 percent to 173.

Nationwide, new vehicle sales in October fell 1.3 percent from a year ago to 1.35 million, the ninth decline this year. A 3.6 percent increase in light truck sales wasn't enough to offset a 9.2 percent drop in car sales, says a report by Autodata Corp. Sales in the year's first 10 months are off 1.7 percent from a year ago with a 10.4 percent drop in car sales more than offsetting a 4.3 percent gain in light truck sales.

Statewide, new vehicle registration numbers for October aren't available yet, but in September they rose 14.7 percent from September 2016 to 17,684, according to data compiled by Experian Automotive for the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. Registration totals for the first nine months of the year were up 7.5 percent from the same period last year to 155,091.

The used vehicle market is even hotter, with registrations in October rising 15.5 percent from a year earlier to 18,615 and year-to-date registrations rising 11.3 percent from a year ago to 167,640.

"Thanks to a strengthening economy, Colorado consumers continue to demand new vehicles. Trucks, crossovers, pickups and minivans continue to drive the market for new registrations," said Tim Jackson, president of the dealer group.

The registration numbers don't exactly reflect sales by local dealers, as buyers have up to 60 days to register a new vehicle in the county where they live, not where they bought it. The numbers don't include heavy trucks, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles or trailers.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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