COVID-19 Pandemic Expected to Reduce Value of US New Motor Vehicle Sales by 23% in 2020


Cleveland, OH, August 20, 2020 — Retail sales of new motor vehicles (MVs) in the US are forecast to see minimal annual declines in unit terms through 2024, according to Motor Vehicles: United States, a report recently released by Freedonia Focus Reports. MV replacement cycles are expected to lengthen due to:

  • ongoing retirement of baby boomers
  • later acquisition of drivers' licenses for young potential drivers
  • the US urban population growing faster than the general population, expanding the size of a cohort with easy access to public transport and ridesharing services
  • increasing reliability of vehicles
  • competition from the availability of used vehicles

These factors are expected to restrain retail sales, leading to slight declines. However, low interest rates and expanding export markets (worldwide retail sales of MV units are expected to grow 1.5% annually through 2024) will stave off faster retreats.

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to reduce the value of US MV retail sales by 23% from 2019 levels in 2020, and unit sales are expected to decline 22%. The loss of disposable income, employment, and consumer confidence will lead to a contraction of retail sales. However, low interest rates will make financing a vehicle more attractive to consumers, while the provision of stimulus checks for many middle- to low-income US citizens provided some consumers with the financial ability to place a down payment for a new vehicle.

These and other key insights are featured in Motor Vehicles: United States. This report forecasts for 2020 and 2024 US new motor vehicle retail sales in units and nominal US dollars, as well as production in units. Total new retail sales and production volumes are segmented by type in terms of:

  • light-duty trucks
  • automobiles
  • medium-duty trucks
  • heavy-duty trucks
  • medium- and heavy-duty buses

Total new vehicle retail sales values are segmented by type as follows:

  • light-duty trucks
  • automobiles
  • medium- and-heavy-duty trucks and buses

To illustrate historical trends, total retail sales, total production, and the various segments are provided in annual series from 2009 to 2019.

Other forms of motorized transport equipment, such as all-terrain vehicles; bicycles; military armored vehicles and tanks; motorcycles; off-road agriculture, construction, and mining equipment; race cars; snowmobiles; and parts are excluded from the scope of this report. New MV leases originated are included in volume retail sales figures. Re-exports of motor vehicles are excluded from demand figures.

More information about the report is available at: