The car shopping experts at Edmunds say that June will be another down month for auto sales as the industry continues to combat market challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, forecasting that 1,080,656 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in June for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.8 million. This reflects a 28.7% decrease in sales from June 2019 and a 3.6% decrease from May 2020.
“It comes as no surprise that the second quarter was a disappointing one for the automotive industry, but the good news is that auto sales didn’t come to a complete standstill either,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “The fact that retail sales — not fleet — are what kept the market propped up speaks volumes to the resilience of the American consumer. And the way that dealers were quick to pivot to online sales also underscores the incredibly responsive and resourceful nature of the industry in the face of adversity.”
Although Edmunds data shows a steady growth in sales since the end of March, analysts caution that some of the strains of the pandemic are starting to show as more shoppers return to the market.
“The marketplace is growing less inviting as automakers pull back on incentives and inventory dwindles due to factory shutdowns, particularly when it comes to trucks, which have been the one bright spot for sales during the pandemic,” said Caldwell. “Current sales paint an optimistic picture given the circumstances, but between COVID-19 and today’s politically charged climate, the industry needs to prepare for uncertainties ahead.”
This graph shows actual sales from the BEA (Blue), and Edmunds forecast for June (Red).
Note that the low in April of 8.73 million SAAR was lower than the lowest sales rate during the great recession of 9.02 million SAAR in February 2009.
Sales have bounced back from the April low, but are still down sharply year-over-year.