By on March 26, 2020


The growing movement to ditch monthly sales reporting in favor of quarterly updates will blur the impact of this month’s coronavirus-related shelter-in-place orders.

Many automakers, the Detroit Three most notably, left monthly sales reports in the dust long ago, meaning the March decline will have to mingle with the business-as-usual months that preceded it. Right now, it’s left to analysts to tell us the damage.

One has a good idea of what happened this month.

Via The Detroit News, J.D. Power’s vice president of automotive data and analytics consulting, Tyson Jominy, dished on the unexpected March doldrums.

Pre-virus forecasts mean nothing now; the current tally of U.S. auto sales (in March) is 19 percent lower than initially presumed, J.D. Power claims. By the end of the month, monthly volume could be down 32 to 40 percent compared to those earlier predictions.

Keep in mind that at the beginning of the month, New York City’s mayor was encouraging people to live their lives and mingle with crowds. It was a different world. Whistling past the graveyard was a popular pastime north and south of the border, at all levels of government.

Some markets haven’t seen a huge impact from coronavirus… yet. However, the country’s largest markets are rapidly clamping down, restricting public movement and severely stemming the flow of customers into dealerships. Jominy estimates an 80-percent drop in Detroit sales in the coming weeks. San Francisco, another coronavirus hot spot that clamped down early, saw sales fall 86 percent last weekend.

“It’s pretty clear that stay-at-home orders are the determining factor,” Jominy said. “Even in Detroit that has an unusually high lease rate due to home-town automakers. We expect Detroit to have similar levels of decline to other areas in the near future.”

Patterning its estimates after China’s coronavirus response, J.D. Power sees the U.S. shedding 1.8 to 2.8 million sales between March and June. Annual sales are projected at 13.3 million to 14.8 million — in line with the most recent estimates coming from other analysts.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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11 Comments on “Imagine If Monthly Sales Reporting Was Still a Thing…...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Still too optimistic.

    Widespread unemployment will force many out of the market.

    Widespread mistrust will keep many out of the showroom.

    I wonder if the CV will end up changing the buying process forever. I hope the foursquare never returns. Second, once mfrs realize they can sell cars online, we may see some dealer culling.

    • 0 avatar

      @SCE to AUX – I find the biggest inhibitor to online sales are the car dealerships themselves. They are still locked into the belief that they can sell to anybody that sets foot on a showroom floor. It is also harder to “four square”, “up-sell”, “sorry we just sold the one you want” games with an on-line buyer.

  • avatar

    Argh, wrong thread, yet again.

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis


    The Detroit companies announced they were ending monthly sales reports long before they ended the practice.
    Toyota & Nissan decided January 2020 reports were too bad to put out.

  • avatar

    Glad they stopped honestly. Honda only sold 15,000 Accords in January. They sold 388,000/year as recently as 2014, so 2020 was on pace for less than half that before this even all hit. I don’t even want to know February or March sales :-(

  • avatar

    Ford certainly lost a sale.

    A good friend of mine wanted to grossly overpay for a rather stripped down F-150. Advertised price was $41K. Without incentives, that pile of garbage stickered at $54K.

    He was intrigued by the 84 month of no interest financing. Ford told him if he wanted the 84 month financing he would have to pay sticker.

    Naturally I want better for my friend and showed him a Ram that has much more content and features for less money but his wife said no (women I tell ya).

    Thankfully because Ford is greedy he walked away from the sale.

  • avatar

    yup car sales will be horrilbe

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