Coronavirus has had a drastic impact on car sales due to a combination of factors such as dealer closures, stay at home orders, and economic insecurity. Sales data company Foureyes inputted publicly available data into interactive maps to illustrate how much of the market was really lost.
According to Foureyes, it collected a sampling of data from over 16,000 dealerships totaling around three million car sales for both new and pre-owned units. It is also pulling publicly available sales data from almost every major auto manufacturer. Within its maps, you can set date ranges for comparison.
The impact of COVID19 on retail markets really started to take shape around mid-March, as that is when several states started to put in shelter-in-place procedures and ordered the shutdown of all non-essential businesses.
If we take a snapshot of nationwide new car sales from March 14 to April 14 and compare that to the range of February 13 to March 13, we see a national sales drop that averages 36 percent. However, if you look at the more heavily populated areas in the Northeast and West Coast, vehicle retail sales plummeted upwards of 69 percent in some areas, with most of those regions seeing drops of around 50 percent.
By shifting the comparison to the first few weeks of April and looking back to the last few weeks of March, there is a continuous drop in new car sales within those high population regions and a 20 percent national average drop in sales. However, there are some surprising sales growth areas in places like Nevada and South Dakota.
You can also pull up state-by-state sales data for all the major brands and see which automakers were most impacted by COVID-19. If we examine our original date range and compare the time period between March 14 to April 14 against February 13 to March 13, you can see that the luxury brands specifically Jaguar Land Rover and BMW have taken the hardest hit.
Using the same date ranges for comparison you can also see how much the pre-owned car market dropped and it’s even more dramatic than new cars. The national average fell 44 percent.
When you examine the state-by-state used car sales data during these time periods, you can see that almost every brand took a very similar hit percentage-wise for their pre-owned units. Though JLR took the worst drop in new car sales, it had the lowest impact on pre-owned.
I am sure that consumers may view this data as a way to see where potential deals are, thinking that dealers in the states that are hardest hit may be more likely to give better prices. Unfortunately, knowing how much sales have been lost isn’t going to result in additional leverage for pricing especially since many of the hardest-hit states like Pennsylvania have banned most of their dealerships from operating in a sales capacity.
However, in the coming months as states start to slowly re-open this data will be interesting to watch in terms of a sales recovery. It may also help determine the automakers’ utilization of incentives and rebates within certain areas. If you want to make your own comparisons in regards to sales data within set time frames, be sure to check out the Foureyes interactive map.