US car market crash points to tough times ahead

Following the news that light vehicle sales in the US fell nearly 39% in March compared with last year;

David Leggett, Automotive Editor at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“The sharp drop to US vehicle sales last month was widely expected as social distancing and lockdown measures took hold in the US in response to the growing COVID-19 public health emergency.

“The coronavirus crisis is causing government induced recessions across the world, with new car sales and the automotive sector hit particularly hard.

“The next few months are expected to be particularly weak for vehicle sales in the US, but the picture is forecast to brighten later in the year as economic activity returns and population movement controls are relaxed.

“GlobalData forecasts in its base case scenario that the US light vehicle market will be 14.7 million units in 2020 – a drop of almost 14% on 2019’s total. That forecast assumes a strong pick-up to vehicle sales in the third quarter.

“With interest rates staying low, there will be some spectacularly good deals around for consumers later this year as vehicle manufacturers strive to rapidly recover volume. However, consumers will also be wary of taking on more debt. We will be assessing the state of underlying market demand as the year progresses, but it is conceivable that the effects of the COVID-19 emergency will linger for some time.”

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