Published on April 2nd, 2020 📆 | 2157 Views ⚑0
New vehicle sales fell by 40-50 percent in March thanks to COVID-19
On Wednesday, the auto industry started reporting its sales results for the first quarter of 2020. The industry’s prospects weren’t looking amazing even before the worst disease pandemic in more than a century, and 2019 saw new car and truck sales fall by 1.3 percent in the US. But those results look positively rosy compared to Q1 2020.
General Motors reports that for the first three months of the year, its sales were down by about 7 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. At Fiat Chrysler, the drop was 10 percent. Toyota’s sales fell 9 percent. Subaru posted a 17-percent decrease over the quarter. Volkswagen sales fell by 13 percent, with a 14-percent drop at Audi and a 20-percent decline at Porsche. BMW sold 15-percent fewer cars in Q1 2020 than Q1 2019, with an even bigger 35-percent decrease at Mini. Nissan had a similarly dismal quarter, declining 30 percent, year on year.
Not everyone did quite so horribly. Mazda sales dropped by just 4.5 percent for the first three months of the year, and Kia actually managed to increase sales by about a percent, although Korean stablemate Hyundai posted an 11-percent drop in Q1 2020.
However, the real effects of COVID-19 on the industry were mainly felt in March, and those numbers are far uglier. Sales of new cars and trucks last month fell by between 40 to 50 percent compared to March 2019, for the brands reporting sales with that level of granularity.
In response, the industry is trying to tempt buyers with lower interest rates and even longer loan periods, and many dealerships remain open even as car factories in the US and around the world are shuttered and cities and states issue shelter-in-place orders. Although we don’t have a crystal ball, it doesn’t require supernatural powers of prognostication to predict that Q2 2020 is going to look significantly worse.