2020 First-Quarter Car, Truck and SUV Sales: Here\u2019s How It Looks

2020 First-Quarter Car, Truck and SUV Sales: Here\u2019s How It Looks

04/02/2020

With the calendar flipping to April, we’re finally exiting the first fiscal quarter of 2020, and we’re starting to get sales numbers from automakers that switched from monthly reporting. While quarterly reporting is obscuring the effect of the current coronavirus crisis, automakers that are still reporting monthly sales figures show what’s happening on dealer lots.

General Motors is reporting a 7.1% dip over last year’s first quarter. That still translates to 618,335 cars, trucks and SUVs sold over its various brands. Chevrolet led the charge with 435,422 units, which is only down 3.8% over 2019. Down 5.5% from last year, GMC took second place with 118,718 vehicles sold. Cadillac and Buick round out the portfolio with 30,325 and 33,870 vehicles sold, respectively. Buick dropped the most year over year with a staggering 34.7% slide from the 51,867 vehicles it sold in the same window in 2019.

Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles also is reporting a drop compared to last year’s performance. Brand-wide it’s reporting a 10.4% drop, which means that FCA sold 449,113 vehicles in three months. Leading FCA, Jeep reports 182,670 sold. That’s down 14.2% from last year’s first-quarter tally of 212,804. Ram actually is posting the only increase in sales for FCA, with 140,486 trucks sold this quarter. That’s a 2.5% bump from the same period last year. Dodge moved 88,657 cars and crossovers this quarter, which is 19.8% lower than last year. Chrysler only dipped 4.6% with 30,124 vehicles moved away from dealer lots. Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Fiat all posted drops: 13.6%, 15.5% and 49.1%, respectively. The Fiat dip might be bad, but don’t forget that it pulled the 500 from the U.S. market last year.

There are still more quarterly reports to come in, but rounding out this list of quarterlies: Porsche dropped 20.2% with 11,994 vehicles sold this quarter.

The quarterly sales do generally show what’s going on with the industry. However, the more telling figures of the current situation come from the few automakers that still report monthly figures. Hyundai quarterly figures were 130,875—only down 11.3% from last year, but March reveals a 42.6% drop compared to the same month last year. Mazda shows similar figures with a 4.5% fall for the quarter but a 41.8% downturn coming from March. Mitsubishi follows the trend and sold 9,394 vehicles, dropping 52.1% from last year.

Last month’s significant drop will likely affect every automaker, and it doesn’t look like April will offer much relief to dealers. Most automakers have already offered special interest rates or deferment programs to help ignite car sales, but we won’t know the true effect until the end of next quarter. We wouldn’t be shocked if we saw deeper incentive plans start hitting dealers (those that can still sell cars) to help entice new car buyers to the physical or digital lots. Only time will tell if any incentive program will help move iron during a pandemic.

If you’re wondering how other automakers are doing, check back for updates. Ford plans to reveal its first-quarter sales figures later today, with other automakers looking to talk numbers later this month.

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