Puerto Rico

Last modification: 23 Jun 20
Introduction: 

Puerto Rico is an island located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, just east of the Dominican Republic. Mostly made up of mountains, it has a coastal plain to the north, precipitous mountains to the sea on the west coast and sandy beaches along most of the coastal areas.

Population clusters tend to be found along the coast, of which the largest is found in and around the capital city of San Juan. There is also a sizeable population in the interior of the island immediately south of the capital around the city of Caguas. Most of the interior, particularly in the western half of the island, is dominated by the Cordillera Central mountains, where population density is low. 

With 146 vehicles per street mile and 4,300 vehicles per square mile, Puerto Rico is considered the country with the most cars per sq mi. Home to 1,100 people per square mile, its population density is also among the world's highest.

Chapter 1: Economic and business environment

Demographics

population of 3.19 million (2019)

Puerto Rico's population density per square mile is among the world's highest. There are about 1,100 people per sq mi.

Capital

San Juan (population 418,140)

 

Major cities

1. San Juan (pop. 418,140)
2. Bayamón (pop. 203,499)
3. Carolina (pop. 170,404)
4. Ponce (pop. 152,634)
5. Caguas (pop. 86,804)

Languages

Spanish, English

GDP

US$101 billion (2018)
$30,699 per capita 
 

Unemployment rate

7.7% (October, 2019)

Main industries

pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism

Currency

US Dollar

Interest rate

*1.5% (January , 2020)

*same as the United States

Inflation

0.4% (August, 2019)

source: Trading Economics

Chapter 2 : Automotive market, segments & sales

Total Car park

Considering an estimate of one vehicle per 1.5 people, the country has a national fleet of some 2.13 million vehicles. 

With 146 vehicles per street mile and 4,300 vehicles per square mile, Puerto Rico is considered to be the country with the most cars per square mile in the world.

New vehicle registrations (Cars, LCV, Trucks)

Puerto Rico, for the most part, mirrors automobile sales performance in the United States.

A total of 106,000 new vehicle registration were reported in 2019, down 1.2% year-over-year. This is the first time in six years the counntry experienced two consecutive years above 100,000 vehicles.

Auto importers group GUIA is forecasting a 1.5% drop to 105,000 in new vehicles sales in 2020.
(estimated before Coronavirus pandemic) 

source: BestSellingCars

Top 5 brands (total market)

1H19

1. Toyota
2. Hyundai
3. FCA
4. Nissan
5. Kia

source: BestSellingCars

Model preference top 5 (total market)

Good bye sedans: While the sale of mid-sized sedans and compact sedans dropped 46% and 27% year-over-year respectively in 2019, SUV sales rose 7.5%. Cars models announced as being discontinued in 2019 are Ford Fiesta and Taurus, Chevrolet Cruz and Volt, and the Volkswagen Beetle.

 

Chapter 3: Company car market

Total Fleet Park (company cars)/Fleet penetration in total fleet sales

*We are currently gathering information for this section and it will be updated shortly. 

 

Evolution fleet sales (last 5 years)

In 2019, commercial vehicles sales rose 14% to 19,324 units from 16,920 (source: OICA)
2018: 16,920 units
2
017: 6,180 units
2016: 45,700 units
2015:  43,500 units

Fleet sales represent approximately 15% of total sales
(source: GUIA) 

 

 

Top 5 fleet brands (fleet market)

*We are currently gathering information for this section and it will be updated shortly. 

Fleet Model preference top 5 (fleet market)

*We are currently gathering information for this section and it will be updated shortly. 

Chapter 4: Taxation & legislation

Ordering your car or cars directly from  a U.S. state (e.g. Florida) is a strategy used by some. However, as import taxes and fees are lower for car dealerships in Puerto Rico, getting your vehicle directly on the island could save you money as long as you are finding the right vehicle for your fleet. In general, vehicles are US$2,000-US$5,000 more expensive in Puerto Rico than prices seen in the United States. Keep in mind that although Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, you can't drive around with U.S. plates. Once arriving on the island to be used on streets, new vehicle onwers have three days to register the car with Puerto Rican plates.

Vehicle registration and licensing is done at the department of transportation and public works, DNOC. The registration fee for vehicles less than 3,500 lbs is approximately US$72 and for those above 3,500 lbs, US$115.00 - $155.00. Emissions inspection should be no more than US$40. Unfortunately, extra steps are common in some cases so reserve at least two days to cover all steps. Payments can be made at DTOP or by SURI, the online payment portal. Double check at time of registration. 

source: National Express Auto Transport

Chapter 5: Car policies

*We are currently gathering information for this section and it will be updated shortly. 

Chapter 6: Funding methods

*We are currently gathering information for this section and it will be updated shortly. 

Chapter 7: Fuel

June 8, 2020
Average gasoline price per liter: US$0.63 (world average is US$0.95)

Average diesel price per liter: US$0.49 (world average is US$0.86)

Source: https://www.globalpetrolprices.com/gasoline_prices/

Chapter 8 : TCO components

*We are currently gathering information for this section and it will be updated shortly. 

Chapter 9: Safety, insurance and telematics

Insurance
When it comes to new technologies such as electric vehicles with those with autonomous features, most insurance companies stopped insuring these types of vehicles in 2019 and now only work with them on a case by case basis. Several insurers are currently working on updating their policies, adding discaimers such as obliging car owners to only deal with motor and battery problems in the United States.  They are also looking into ways to create polices that address cruise control and other "smart car" issues.

Chapter 10: Environment

The car emissions rules in Puerto Rico are the same as they are in the United States as these standards are set by the environmental protection agency. In most cases, your car will easily pass an emissions test. However, if there are issues with your engine, you could possibly fail the inspection.

As for as electrification, Tesla models have been making an impact in Puerto Rico recenltly with more than 400 on the island as of 2019. Located in the city of Guaynabo, the first Tesla SuperCharger station - with two charging points - was also installed in the San Patricio Plaza region at the end of 2019. A Tesla service center is also seen coming in 2020. (source: Mi Tesla)

There is a service center for hybrid and electric vehicles in San Juan which services various models.  It has been there for several years. 

Chapter 11: Mobility

Car ownership in Puerto Rico is among the highest in the world and that is due to the absence of attractive public transporations services.

Although public bus services have long been underveloped, passenger transport services company ALSA - in 2019 - launched a bus line between the cities of Caguas and San Juan. It is aimed at providing a safe, economical, relaible and environmentally friendly mode of transport that boosts the local economy while reducing conjestion.

Chapter 12: Key trends to watch