Coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer car sales

The second quarter largely took place while most of the US was under stay-at-home orders.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
4 min read
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Buyers are returning to dealers, but sales are still way down.

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It's hard to believe, but the second quarter of the year has come to a close. For automakers, it wasn't great news when it comes to sales, as you might expect.

As more automakers release their Q2 results, we'll update this story and include them below. It's worth noting there was one fewer selling day in June, with 25 days compared to 26 days in 2019.


The Japanese luxury brand reported sales dropped by 28% in Q2. The RDX was a bright spot in June year-over-year, with sales up by 11%. The RLX sedan also saw increased sales of 152%, though that's from a previously small sales figure. This June, Acura sold 126 RLX sedans compared to 50 in June 2019.


The luxury marque said sales fell by 39% in Q2 with both cars and SUVs posting nearly identical decreases.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The US automaker saw sales decline by 39% year-over-year in Q2. Not a single FCA brand posted a gain, not even crown jewels Ram and Jeep . The truck and SUV divisions posted 35% and 27% sales decreases, respectively. and Chrysler didn't fare any better. Both brands posted drops, with the former reporting a 63% sales drop and the latter a 58% sales decrease. Fiat was down by 54% and reported a 21% decline.


Hyundai Motor's luxury division reported a year-to-date sales decrease of 25%. The good news is retail sales rose by 6% in June, compared to May.

General Motors

The largest US automaker said Q2 sales decreased by 34% year-over-year. Like other automakers, GM blamed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic for low demand, but it also cited manufacturing woes as plants began ramping back up in May. GM added it will continue work to increase vehicle supply in the weeks ahead and plants will work through the traditional summer shutdown.

No GM brand posted a sales gain, with Chevrolet sales down by 34%, Buick sales down by 36%, GMC sales down by 33% and Cadillac sales down by 41%. There were a few bright spots amid the sales drops, however: Chevy Blazer sales increased by 68% and GMC Sierra HD sales rose by 8%.


The Japanese automaker reported a sales decline of 27% in Q2. June showed a pretty strong return for the automaker, however, with sales down by just 0.6% last month. Comparing June 2019 to June 2020, the Pilot and HR-V were strong spots for Honda with sales up by 9% and 2%, respectively.


The South Korean brand reported a 24% sales decline in Q2 compared to this time last year. Hyundai did say retail sales grew by 6% in June, which may be a sign that car buyers are starting to return to the market. Fleet sales plunged by 93%, which isn't a surprise noting far lower levels of travel and low rental car take rates. (Hertz filed for bankruptcy in May, for example.)

The big winner? SUVs , of course. The Palisade saw sales grow by 34%, Santa Fe sales increased by 14% and the tiny Kona recorded a 1% sales increase from May to June.


Nissan's premium division saw sales decline by 44% in Q2. No model posted a gain this past quarter.


It's a mixed bag of news over at Japanese automaker Mazda. The automaker, which reports sales monthly and year-to-date, said June 2020 sales actually increased by 11% year-over-year, largely thanks to the new CX-30 crossover. Year-to-date, sales are down by 7%, however. The CX-9 also had a good month with sales up by 49%, and believe it or not, the company moved more MX-5 Miatas compared to this time last year. Sales of the sports car are up by 27%.


The British brand said sales of its funky lineup fell by 42% in Q2. BMW, which owns the company, also posted a similar sales drop (see above).


The Japanese automaker had a rough Q2 and reported a sales decline of 50% year-over-year. Just two positives stick out in the sales report. The Murano saw sales increase by 0.3% year-over-year, and actually, Nissan sold more 370Z models compared to Q2 last year.


The German sports car and luxury vehicle maker saw its Q2 sales drop by 20%. The good news is the 911 saw sales increase by 30% year-over-year, but every other nameplate is down.


Year-to-date, Subaru sales are down by 21% year-over-year. But the Japanese automaker recorded a strong sales month in June for the Forester. Sales increased by 32% in June year-over-year. WRX and STI sales actually increased, too, with a 16% increase.


The German automaker reported a sales decline of 29% in Q2, but retail sales are actually up by 16% compared to Q2 last year. Strangely enough, the Passat and Arteon posted increases last quarter with a jump of 11% and 33%, respectively.

Mazda MX-5 Miata 100th Anniversary Edition looks really lovely

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