Automaker Q1 sales reports reveal coronavirus’ effects


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April may be another tough month for automakers.

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Analysts expected it, but we finally have hard numbers to show a deep decline in automotive sales in the first quarter of 2020. While things hummed along through January, and mostly February, any positives quickly met the eraser in March as stay-at-home orders and shutdowns swept over the US in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Below, you’ll find sales results for every automaker reporting them for Q1. We’ll continue to update this story as automakers release their results. For those looking for ways to safely pursue car buying amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a guide to every automaker offering home delivery.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Sales of all FCA’s brands combined resulted in a 10% decline year over year. The automaker sold a total of 446,768 vehicles between Jan. 1 and March 31, compared to 498,425 vehicles during the same period last year. The automaker noted “strong momentum” in January and February, but March dashed any positive gains.

Chrysler sales slipped 5%, and even Jeep wasn’t immune to the slowdown. The crown jewel of FCA posted a 14% drop in sales. Dodge was down, too, with a 20% decline. Fiat saw a steep dive at 49% (not as much related to the COVID-19 outbreak), while Alfa Romeo sales fell 14%.

It wasn’t all bad news, though. Ram sales grew 3% overall, and Ram trucks, specifically, saw sales rise 7%. Chrysler Pacifica sales also grew 5%.

General Motors

GM’s four brands posted a total decline of 7% in Q1. Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac each posted sales declines as March turned into a reckoning month for automakers. Chevy fared best with a sales decline of 3.8%, while Buick posted a larger decline of 34%. GMC sales dropped 5% and Cadillac sales fell 15.8%. Total vehicle sales were 618,335 in Q1 2020 compared to 665,840 the same time last year.

A few bright spots are also present for GM. Chevy Silverado sales jumped 33% and the GMC Sierra saw posted a gain of 27% year over year. As the Chevy Blazer also flowed into dealers, sales increased 632% year over year, though availability was limited at this time last year.


At Hyundai, the South Korean brand posted a Q1 sales decline of 11%. March told a more drastic picture with a 43% decline in sales. The brand noted sales actually increased in January and February, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed pause on any momentum. Sales, in total, dropped to 130,875 vehicles from 147,585 vehicles this time last year.

To help drum up some consumer confidence, Hyundai reinstalled its Assurance Job Loss Protection Program for new customers. Those who purchase a new Hyundai will receive up to six payments on the brand in the event the customer loses their job.


Nissan’s luxury brand posted a sales decline of 25%, though its QX50 posted its best sales ever in January and February. Sales of the model rose 16% in Q1, though every other model posted a sales decline.


The Japanese automaker does not report sales results quarterly, and in its monthly report, March sales year over year dropped 42%. Every model posted deep declines, save for the CX-30 — a new vehicle in Mazda’s lineup. The latest crossover found 2,242 homes in March, which is far more than the somewhat comparable CX-3.


Like Mazda, Mitsubishi issues monthly sales reports — not quarterly. Still, March was not kind to the small Japanese automaker. Sales dropped 52% year over year with just 9,394 cars sold last month. In March 2019, the automaker moved 19,599 cars.


The automaker, which has struggled in recent months before the COVID-19 pandemic, posted a company-wide sales decline of 30%. The only models to post a gain were the Murano SUV, which saw sales increase by 34%, and the Kicks, up 11%.


The German sports car maker said sales dropped 20% in Q1 this year. It’s a tough time as Porsche launched its first electric car, the Taycan, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc on the traditional car buying process. The brand said it sold 221 Taycans in Q1.


The Volkswagen brand followed the industry trend and posted a 13% sales drop in Q1 and sold about 10,000 fewer vehicles than this time last year. Two rather odd bright spots emerged, however. Golf R sales skyrocketed 448%. That’s not a typo. Golf SportWagen sales also rose 36%. VW killed the SportWagen at the end of last year, so it may be last-minute buyers getting their wagon fix.

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