New Vehicle Sales Drop in March to Close a Down First Quarter in 2020, Edmunds Forecasts
Analysts forecast a SAAR of 11.9 million in March due to market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis

SANTA MONICA, CA — March 25, 2020 — The car shopping experts at Edmunds say that March will be a down month for the auto industry due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, forecasting that 1,044,805 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 11.9 million. This reflects a 35.5% decrease in sales from March 2019 and a 23.4% decrease from February 2020.

Edmunds experts note that the downturn in March will also lead to a drop in quarterly sales, forecasting that 3,546,415 new cars and trucks will be sold in the first quarter of 2020, which reflects an 11.8% decrease from the first quarter of 2019.

"The first two months of the year started off at a healthy sales pace, but the market took a dramatic turn in mid-March as more cities and states began to implement stay-at-home policies due to the coronavirus crisis, and consumers understandably shifted their focus to other things," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights. "The whole world is turned upside down right now, and the auto industry is unfortunately not immune to the wide-ranging economic impacts of this unprecedented pandemic."

Edmunds analysts note that the nationwide shutdown of auto manufacturing facilities and limited inventory mean that automakers aren't currently pressured to offer attractive incentives on new vehicles, but that will likely change as the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve.

"Automakers can count on capturing some deferred demand once we get past the worst of this pandemic, but since they'll be competing with so many other companies for consumer spending at that point, they're really going to need to create incentives to spur some sales," said Caldwell. "Things might look a bit bleak as automakers are taking a hit right now across the board, but the massive stimulus package deal that was just announced is an encouraging update. History has shown us that this industry can survive through almost any financial or natural disaster, and we're confident that they're going to come out of this tough period on the other side."


Q1 SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER
SALES
VOLUME
2020 Q1
Forecast
Q1 2019 Q4 2019 Change from
Q1 2019
Change from
Q4 2019
GM 637,104 665,840 735,909 -4.3% -13.4%
Ford 506,772 590,249 601,862 -14.1% -15.8%
Toyota 497,111 543,714 604,016 -8.6% -17.7%
FCA 463,277 498,425 542,519 -7.1% -14.6%
Honda 308,010 369,787 401,961 -16.7% -23.4%
Hyundai/Kia 272,569 288,384 340,482 -5.5% -19.9%
Nissan 261,615 365,851 301,291 -28.5% -13.2%
VW/Audi 118,952 133,987 150,807 -11.2% -21.1%
Industry 3,546,415 4,021,986 4,291,309 -11.8% -17.4%
 
Q1 MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER
Market
Share
2020 Q1
Forecast
Q1 2019 Q4 2019 Change from
Q1 2019
Change from
Q4 2019
GM 18.0% 16.6% 17.1% 8.5% 4.8%
Ford 14.3% 14.7% 14.0% -2.5% 2.0%
Toyota 14.0% 13.5% 14.1% 3.6% -0.5%
FCA 13.1% 12.4% 12.6% 5.5% 3.4%
Honda 8.7% 9.2% 9.4% -5.6% -7.3%
Hyundai/Kia 7.7% 7.2% 7.9% 7.2% -3.1%
Nissan 7.4% 9.1% 7.0% -18.8% 5.2%
VW/Audi 3.4% 3.3% 3.5% 0.6% -4.6%
 
MARCH 2020 SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER
Sales
Volume
2020 March
Forecast
March 2019 February 2020 Change from
March 2019
Change from
February 2020
GM 186,428 271,517 239,426 -31.3% -22.1%
Ford 159,957 231,680 190,255 -31.0% -15.9%
FCA 144,102 200,307 183,509 -28.1% -21.5%
Toyota 137,094 214,945 194,152 -36.2% -29.4%
Honda 86,379 148,509 120,006 -41.8% -28.0%
Nissan 82,168 150,768 99,635 -45.5% -17.5%
Hyundai/Kia 81,294 118,442 106,777 -31.4% -23.9%
VW/Audi 33,621 57,394 44,833 -41.4% -25.0%
Industry 1,044,805 1,620,183 1,364,199 -35.5% -23.4%

*NOTE: March 2020 had 25 selling days, March 2019 had 27 and February 2020 had 26.

                                                           

Edmunds estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 8.8 million vehicles in March, with fleet transactions accounting for 26.3% of total sales.


MARCH 2020 MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER
Market
Share
2020 March
Forecast
March 2019 February 2020 Change from
March 2019
Change from
February 2020
GM 17.8% 16.8% 17.6% 6.5% 1.7%
Ford 15.3% 14.3% 13.9% 7.1% 9.8%
FCA 13.8% 12.4% 13.5% 11.6% 2.6%
Toyota 13.1% 13.3% 14.2% -1.1% -7.8%
Honda 8.3% 9.2% 8.8% -9.8% -6.0%
Nissan 7.9% 9.3% 7.3% -15.5% 7.7%
Hyundai/Kia 7.8% 7.3% 7.8% 6.5% -0.6%
VW/Audi 3.2% 3.5% 3.3% -9.1% -2.1%

More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in the Edmunds Industry Center at https://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/.

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