April will see historic lows for auto sales — with silver lining

Historic lows are expected in April as the full effects of COVID-19 are felt across the U.S. auto market, according to VADA Program Partner Cox Automotive. Among the numbers:

  • Light-vehicle sales volume is expected to finish near 620,000 units, down 53% compared to last April and down 37% compared to March 2020.
  • After incorporating seasonal adjustments, the annual vehicle sales pace in April is expected to finish near 7.5 million, down significantly from March’s 11.4 million and far below April 2019’s 16.5 million.

While the forecast is disheartening, there is a silver lining. Charlie Chesbrough, a Cox senior economist, notes: “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. Year-over-year daily declines, while still high, are consistently showing improvement over recent weeks. Some people want to buy a vehicle or need to buy a vehicle, even in a pandemic.”

See the full release from Cox.

"Some people want to buy a vehicle or need to buy a vehicle, even in a pandemic."

— Charlie Chesbrough, Cox Automotive Senior Economist