Auto sales plunged 48 per cent in March from last year

TORONTO — DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. says auto sales plunged 48 per cent in March from last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The consultancy says March sales looked to be only declining moderately for the first half of the month, but started to dive as provinces declared states of emergency, Quebec closed front-end dealerships, and many other dealerships voluntarily shut down.

Sales are still possible online, but DesRosiers notes that hesitation and uncertainty around the economy and the outbreak have kept buyers away.

The consultancy says it expects even greater sales declines for April and May.

The plunge in March left first quarter auto sales down 20 per cent compared with last year to an estimated 329,108, with no reporting brand seeing increased sales.

Ford, which had the highest sales for the quarter, saw sales drop 13.8 per cent compared with last year, while General Motors declined 12.8 per cent and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sales were down 18.8 per cent.