U.S. Set to Shed 3 Million Auto Sales: J.D. Power

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
u s set to shed 3 million auto sales j d power

The final impact of COVID-19 on the country’s auto industry is becoming increasingly less blurry. In the U.S., the Magic 8-ball foresees a significant hit to dealers and automakers in 2020, with J.D. Power now saying the already cooling market will see 3 million purchases vanish from sales ledgers.

The viral sales cull would bring the industry back to 2012-2013 levels, though at this point there’s too much uncertainty to predict when things return to normal.

As reported by the Detroit Free Press, J.D. Power’s study sees the country’s 2020 vehicle sales tally coming in somewhere between 14 to 16 million vehicles — down sharply from last year’s 17.1 million, though the regional impact will vary. Prior to the pandemic’s arrival, J.D. Power forecasted sales of 16.8 million.

The market has already shed some 38,000 sales in March, the report claims, with the decline accelerating as more states enact extreme social distancing measures. The impact on businesses, including dealerships, is compounded by an increase in (at least temporary) joblessness and virus-borne uncertainty.

As of this past weekend, new vehicle sales in Seattle had dropped 18 percent for the month, with San Francisco falling 17 percent. Those results, both coming from viral hotspots, are outliers compared to stable car-buying locales like Detroit and Minneapolis, the report said, but that will change.

A bright spot in the doom and gloom, J.D. Power said, is a glut of leases coming to an end. In the second quarter of 2020, some 1.8 million lessees will find themselves in need of new wheels.

Last week, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas forecasted a U.S. sales drop of 9 percent for the year — a steep fall-off from the previously forecast 1-2 percent drop. That puts the annual tally at about 15.5 million vehicles. LMC Automotive sees global sales falling 4 percent in 2020, adding that the virus’ impact could spill over into 2021.

[Image: Audi]

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  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Mar 19, 2020

    I’d imagine that this year’s car sales are going to tank through the end of the year. This virus is nasty and it will keep after us, but the level of panic we’re seeing doesn’t seem to be commensurate with the damage it’s doing. Those repeating bad data or bad news need to cut it out. For example, this is not killing 2-15% of the people who get it. Please stop spreading ignorance. These overreactions are making people act stupidly.

    • See 1 previous
    • Maymar Maymar on Mar 19, 2020

      How many people do you think the health care system can handle? That's the real cause for concern, just to keep this manageable (and to hope not too many health care providers contract this as well).

  • Michael S6 Michael S6 on Mar 19, 2020

    Probably a very good time to buy a car. However, if auto production shuts down for long periods then supply issues will keep prices from falling down.

  • 28-Cars-Later Another: How does Stellantis plan to leverage the EV experience of PSA and Opel (?) against the former FCA operation?
  • Ltcmgm78 We bought a 2017 Volt when it came off lease. What a great car! Cost us $18,000 to buy. We put gas in it a couple of times a year. GM blew it with this car as they have done with others. No buyer education. This should have been the bridge car between pure ICE vehicles and pure battery vehicles. No range anxiety at all. And ours still gets 44 mpg running the gas "generator" to power the electric motor. We love it and wish a new model would return to market.
  • Tassos "Fools Cells" are 20 years into the future.THe problem is, the clowns who cheerlead for them have been saying this for the last 20 years, and before that they claimed they are only TEN years into the future (in 1990. so they would dominate by... 2000). Toyota Shareholders and workers will suffer because of the EGO of those damned fools execs who wasted TEN YEARS, letting TESLA dominate the BEV industry (of the FREE WORLD, China excluded).
  • Urlik You’d think VW would have learned from Honda and Cadillac making the same mistake to varying degrees.
  • EBFlex This will be the end of the Dodge brand. They are going from making vehicles people actually want to little pieces of garbage like the hornet and government cars (EVs).