Major automakers have reported sales declines of up to 54% for April alone, according to monthly sales figures released by the OEMs.
While most automakers saw a falloff in sales in the last two weeks of March, as shelter-in-place orders were issued for the coronavirus pandemic and dealerships closed doors, April sales have further eroded the OEMs’ year-to-date figures.
American Honda, for one, saw a 28% year-over-year decline in YTD sales volume, which fell to 356,536 units. Sales in April alone dropped 54% YoY to 57,751. However, consumer traffic began to increase toward the end of the month, both online and in retail dealerships, said Steven Center, vice president of automobile sales at the OEM. “We are approaching the coming weeks with guarded optimism,” Center said.
However, despite lenders pushing for digital car buying, online sales are unlikely to make any “material” impact on sales or revenues for dealers, according to a Fitch Ratings research note.
Subaru of America, too, experienced a 25% YoY decline in YTD sales figures. April sales clocked in at 30,620 units, a 47% decline compared with the prior-year period, and “better than expected,” according to President and Chief Executive Thomas Doll.
Hyundai Motor America’s sales decline clocked in at less than its fellow major OEMs, with YTD sales dropping 18.8% to 164,843 units. For April, Hyundai’s sales fell nearly 40% to 33,968 units.
Mazda North America also posted a 44.9% YoY decline in April to 10,940 units, but YTD sales only lagged 13.2% behind 2019. By comparison, Mazda’s sales numbers for the month were one-third of Hyundai Motor’s and had the smallest volume of reporting OEMs in April.
The projected 2020 new-vehicle SAAR, which has been revised three times since mid-March, is expected to come in between 11.3 million and 12.6 million units, according to ALG TrueCar. Origination volume, too, will likely plunge 40% alongside retail sales this year to $375 billion among the nation’s top 100 financiers, according to Big Wheels Auto Finance Data 2020. Already, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has recorded a 52% decline in auto loan applications between the first and last week of March.