LATE SALES REBOUND HELPS US AUTOMAKERS AVOID 2020 DISASTER
AppleMagazine|AppleMagazine #480
Sales of new vehicles in the U.S. fell 14.6% last year, but a second-half rebound from a coronavirus-related plunge in the spring kindled optimism for a recovery later this year.

Automakers reported selling 14.57 million new vehicles for the year, a far cry from the five previous years with sales over 17 million. But the 2020 performance was better than most forecasters had expected when the pandemic forced auto factories and many dealerships to shut down in April and May.

General Motors Chief Economist Elaine Buckberg said she expects sales to recover in the spring. With warmer weather and widening novel coronavirus vaccinations, life should return more toward normal, lifting the job market and auto demand, she said in a statement.

“We feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Randy Parker, vice president of sales for Hyundai Motor America. “I think it’s going to be a solid year.”

But Parker said he’s still cautious, with hospitals overflowing in California and cases rising in other states. “It’s far from over,” he said. “We can’t afford to let our guard down at this point.”

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