New vehicle registrations in Colorado last month saw their biggest percentage decline in more than a year, as sales of cars and trucks couldn’t keep pace with purchases made after Colorado Springs and Denver were pummeled by hailstorms in summer 2018.
Statewide registrations in September fell 8.4% from September 2018 to 20,516, the biggest decline since registrations fell 11.2% in June 2018, according to a report from the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. September registration from nine of the top 10-selling makes declined during the period, with Ram trucks posting a small gain with both cars and light trucks down from a year ago.
“Both Colorado Springs and Denver were hit by major hailstorms last summer — it was an extraordinary year for hail and it affected all of our locations except for Glenwood Springs, Trinidad and Raton, N.M.,” said Kevin Shaughnessy, vice president of dealer operations for Colorado Springs-based Phil Long Dealerships, one of the state’s largest vehicle retailers with several locations in the Springs and Denver.
Registrations have declined this year in every month but August and the total for the first three quarters of the year is off 3.9% from the same period a year earlier. Car registrations were down 14.5% from a year ago this year, while light truck registrations were off less than 1% with eight of the top 10-selling brands declining. Only Hyundai and Ram posting gains.
U.S. new auto sales are on a similar trend, falling 15.2% in September from a year earlier, which analysts attributed to higher prices. Year-to-date nationwide sales were down 3.8%.
Statewide sales of late model (less than 7 years old) used vehicles continue to show strength as a less-costly alternative to new vehicles. Registrations for August — the latest available — rose 8.7% from August 2018 to 26,589 with all top-selling makes posting gains. Year-to-date used vehicle registrations through August were up 8% to 189,364 with all top-selling makes posting increases.
Registrations tend to lag sales by up to two months, since buyers have up to 60 days to register a new vehicle. The data include only retail registrations; fleet transactions are excluded.