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Auto Sales Hit Wall in April as Pandemic Slows Economy

Auto Sales Hit Wall in April as Pandemic Slows Economy
auto sales hit wall in april as pandemic slows economy
  • cox automotive and edmunds both predict that april sales will fall more than 50 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
  • hyundai saw sales drop 38.7 percent and mazda had a 44.5 percent fall.
  • this list will be updated as the automakers report results for the month.

    april auto sales are painting a dire picture of the industry and showing just how wide-ranging an impact covid-19 has had. analysts have forecasted sales totals to drop to their lowest on record and the first few manufacturers to report april results are not contradicting those estimates.

    nonetheless, fewer automakers report monthly sales, as many have opted to do so on a quarterly basis. that said, the u.s. results from the automakers who do release april data will provide a glimpse into the state of the auto industry as a whole.

    hyundai's sales declined 38.7 percent in april with fleet sales slumping about 74 percent over the month. nonetheless, compared to march of this year, the automaker's sales were up 6 percent. mazda saw auto sales drop 44.5 percent in april, yet only has seen a year to date drop in sales of 13.2 percent. the automaker's entire lineup slumped this past month.

    genesis saw all of its luxury sedans drop sales in april, with sales totals declining 49.8 percent in the month.

    analysts are expecting for april sales to hit lows not seen in decades. cox automotive estimated that sales will dip to 620,000 new vehicles, which is down 53 percent from april of last year and down 37 percent compared to last month. edmunds forecasted that sales would dip to 633,260, a year-over-year decrease of 52.5 percent and a month-over-month decrease of 36.6 percent.

    "april auto sales took the biggest hit we've seen in decades," jessica caldwell, edmunds executive director of insights, said in a statement. "these bleak figures aren't just because consumers are holding back on their purchases—fleet sales are seeing an even more dramatic drop as daily rental business has dried up. like many other industries, the entire automotive sector is struggling as the coronavirus crisis continues to cripple the economy."

    cox noted that the lowest monthly sales total on record was in january 2009, when sales hit 655,000, meaning that april sales could set a record for a monthly low. nonetheless, charlie chesbrough, senior economist at cox automotive, said in a statement that sales could improve after this month. “april is likely to be the sales bottom for the vehicle market during this crisis. recent sales data suggests demand is starting to recover modestly after the initial shock in march and early april."