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El Paso County new car market shifts into low gear in July

August 10, 2017 Updated: August 10, 2017 at 1:02 pm
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El Paso County's new car market slowed in July as the number of new vehicles registered fell to a 2½-year low, says a new report from the county Clerk and Recorder's Office.

The 1,716 new vehicles registered last month were the fewest since 1,662 were registered in February 2015, the office reported. That's down 10.6 percent from July 2016 - the biggest percentage drop since August. The decline also breaks from a trend in the first half of the year, in which registrations fluctuated in a narrow 80-vehicle range.

Registrations in the first seven months of the year were still up 6.7 percent from the same period last year to 15,121.

Nationally, sales have declined every month this year and were off 7 percent in July from a year earlier, dropping to 1.42 million with declines in both car and light truck sales, according to Autodata Corp.

Sales in the first seven months of the year were down 2.9 percent from a year ago to 9.87 million as an 11.7 percent drop in car sales more than offset a 3.5 percent increase in truck sales.

"The reduction from June to July does mimic a decline trend that has happened over those two consecutive months for many years," said Phill Emmert, executive director of the Colorado Springs Automobile Dealers Association. "Nationwide, we have seen consistent declines in auto sales for many months, but locally we have far outperformed that trend until this report. Even including these numbers, it has still been a very good year."

Registrations of the five top-selling makes all declined from a year ago, with Subaru and Honda accounting for more than half of the drop. Subaru registrations fell 23.7 percent, while Honda was down 29.5 percent. Hyundai, Jeep and Kia were the only makes among the top 10 to increase from July 2016.

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.

Statewide new-vehicle registration numbers for July aren't available yet. But in June, they rose 8.4 percent from June 2016 to 14,652, according to data compiled by Experian Automotive for the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. Registrations for the first half of the year were up 4.9 percent from the same period a year ago to 100,251. Used-vehicle registrations in Colorado were up 13.9 percent in July from July 2016 to 16,874. For the first half of the year, registrations for used vehicles were up 10.4 percent from a year ago to 109,470.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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