Argentine auto sales rose 8.2% in January from a year earlier to 112,607 units, the car dealers’ association Acara said in an e-mailed report on Friday. January’s sales were 43.5% more than December’s, the report said.
There's a high chance of this year surpassing the record set in 2011 Acara said. Total sales for 2011 hit a record 857,983 vehicles, up 30% on the year.
Argentine consumers have been flocking to buy cars and trucks. The economy grew 9.2% last year with unemployment reaching multi-year lows, according to official data.
But inflation, which most private-sector economists said surpasses 20%, also explains some of the demand for cars as Argentines continued to pour cash into durable goods amid run-away inflation.
Historically, Argentines buy real estate and consumer durable goods like cars to protect the purchasing power of their savings during times of high inflation.
Argentina is one of few countries where consumers can buy new cars and often sell them, years later, for a profit.
However car production only reached 42.011 units in January, 10.5% lower than the volume registered in the same month in 2011, according to ADEFA, the manufacturers association. Exports totalled 26.344 vehicles, dropping 27.7% year-on-year.