Healthy Sales Start to 2020 Gains Steam in February

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
healthy sales start to 2020 gains steam in february

The affliction of quarterly sales reporting seems to be particularly virulent, as the practice has jumped from its domestic host and is now infecting foreign automakers. Regardless, some OEMs still report sales on a monthly basis.

Despite gathering economic gloom and an approaching pandemic, February was a hot month for new vehicle sales, though the numbers weren’t entirely organic.

You’ll recall that 2020 is a Leap Year, meaning an extra day tacked onto the calendar. That extra day was a selling day, and it wasn’t alone. This past month boasted two extra selling days, conspiring to inflate sales volume. Combine that with record February sales incentives, and you’ve got a recipe for moving metal.

As reported by Automotive News, both J.D. Power and LMC Automotive say last month’s incentives soared, topping the previous February’s average cash-per-vehicle by $293. The average $4,179 incentive spend is projected to rise even higher as automakers battle to warm up a cooling market.

Volume is still expected to drop in 2020 — a prediction that’s become even more ironclad as coronavirus begins a steady march in the U.S. — but that doesn’t mean automakers have any intention of dropping their tools. Zero-percent financing, once on the path to extinction, has staged a resurgence.

Last month, Mazda saw a repeat of its January sales bounce, with volume rising 19 percent, year over year. Good news for an automaker eager to leave 2019 in its rear-view. Honda and Toyota rose 4.2 and 12 percent, respectively (with these figures covering all divisions), while Hyundai and Kia saw monthly gains of 15.8 and 20.2 percent, respectively. Subaru rose 5.3 percent. Volvo, still on the march in North America, returned a volume gain of 18.2 percent.

Of the automakers listed, the only division to see a year-to-date drop after two months of 2020 is Acura, with volume down 2.2 percent.

[Image: Toyota]

Join the conversation
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 09, 2020

    Right-hand-drive seems to help the look of that RAV4 grille.

  • Akear Akear on Mar 09, 2020

    When GM and Ford cancel car lines customers go to the competition. It is really that simple. The cars GM and Ford cancelled add up to around 400,000 units a year.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Mar 09, 2020

      Sometimes customers go to the competition BEFORE those car lines are canceled.

  • KOKing I car-sat an A32 while its owner was out of the country, and the then whiz-bang VQ motor was great, but the rest of it wasn't any better than a XV10 or XV20. Definitely the start of its downward slide, unfortunately.
  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.
  • Scoutdude I know that dealership. Way back when my friend's grandfather was that Turner that owned the Chrysler Plymouth International dealer, in MacPherson. Of course the International was dropped when they didn't deem the Scout reason enough to keep the franchise. I moved from there in late 1978 so it is possible I saw this running around town way back when.