Imagine If Monthly Sales Reporting Was Still a Thing…
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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