(Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Hyundai Motor Co on Wednesday reported a sharp decline in quarterly U.S. auto sales, as the COVID-19 crisis sapped auto demand across the country.
Analysts say the second quarter is expected to see the biggest contraction in auto sales this year, as pandemic-led lockdown restrictions and job losses kept consumers at bay.
Fiat Chrysler reported a 39% slump in U.S. sales to 367,086 vehicles in the second quarter, hit by lower demand for its Jeep and Dodge sport utility vehicles and Ram pick-up trucks.
Hyundai said U.S sales fell 24% to 141,722 vehicles.
Analysts expect the auto market to recover gradually in the following quarters, supported partly by lucrative discounts from automakers desperate to boost sales volume.
“Retail sales have been rebounding since April as the reopening of the economy, steady gas prices, and access to low interest loans spur people to buy,” said Jeff Kommor, Fiat’s head of U.S. sales.
Auto consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive estimate U.S. vehicle sales fell about 25% to 1.09 million units in June, slowing from an over 40% plunge in April and a 29% decline in May.
(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera and Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)