Coronavirus drives US auto sales off a cliff

1 April, 2020 12:00 AM printer

DETROIT: US new vehicle sales likely drove off a cliff in March as the coronavirus pandemic pounded consumer confidence and shuttered dealerships across much of the country, and sales are likely to take a further beating in April as social distancing guidelines remain in place.

“When you look at March, we basically lost half the month,” said Eric Lyman, chief industry analyst at car-shopping website, report agencies.

TrueCar has forecast a sales drop for March of 37 percent and Lyman said sales in April could also be off between 50 percent to 60 percent.

A rebound for the sector will likely depend on how long the crisis lasts and what level of support the U.S. government provides for consumers in the meantime.

Most major automakers, including General Motors Co and Toyota Motor Corp , are due to report quarterly U.S. sales on April 1. Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will report sales on April 2.