Crisis slows US car market – Volkswagen also in the red
Spread of coronavirus cripples economies around the globe. Car sales in the U.S. Have already fallen sharply in the first quarter, yet the standstill has only just begun.
Detroit (dpa) – Customers stay at home, dealers close: Like many other industries, the U.S. Auto industry is suffering badly from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Market leader General Motors (GM) and rival Fiat Chrysler reported sharp declines in first-quarter sales figures. Also the German industry giant Volkswagen had to make already substantial cutbacks. March figures in particular are a bad omen for what's to come.
VW sold 75 in the past three months.075 cars, down 13 percent from the previous year, according to the company's U.S. Headquarters in Herndon, Virginia. From January to February, sales rose by 9.4 percent until they plummeted by 42 percent in March due to the spread of the lung disease Covid-19. The focus is now on maximum stability for customers, employees and dealers, said sales manager Duncan Movassaghi.
VW's sports car subsidiary, Porsche, has already been hit hard by the Corona crisis. With 11.994 cars, the luxury car manufacturer got rid of 20.2 percent fewer vehicles than in the same period last year. As in Europe, many dealers in the USA had to close down. Despite short-term uncertainty, Porsche wants to provide security and assistance to all employees and customers, said U.S. CEO Klaus Zellmer. That will prepare Porsche to come back all the more forcefully, he says.
BMW also had to cope with a significant drop in sales. The decline was particularly pronounced at the Mini subsidiary, where sales fell by 35.1 percent. The parent brand BMW recorded a decline of 15.3 percent.
At US market leader GM, the decline in sales in the first quarter was still limited at minus seven percent. However, the Corona crisis in the U.S. Only really took off in March – the car company does not report any concrete figures for this period. But the significant quarterly loss already shows how bleak the situation is. Investors reacted nervously, sending GM's stock price down more than seven percent at times in U.S. Trading.
Fiat Chrysler sold ten percent fewer cars in the U.S. Market in the past three months. Ford, the second-largest U.S. Automaker, won't report its numbers until this Thursday. The devastating effects of the Corona pandemic on business became even clearer for manufacturers who publish monthly sales reports. Hyundai, for instance, got rid of 43 percent fewer new cars among U.S. Customers in March than a year earlier. Mazda and Mitsubishi suffered losses of 42 percent and 52 percent respectively.