Carmakers Remain Hopeful Despite Disappointing Q2 Sales Results

General Motors CEO, Mary Barra -

Though not unexpected, the continued downward trajectory of car sales this year still hurts. Overall, top brands such as Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors saw drops of over 30% in comparison to last year. The hope is that as production begins to turn back on and areas open more, the market will rebound. While this remains to be seen, there are some silver linings among the losses.


General Motors

While the company was not immune to COVID-19’s effects on the industry, General Motors does show some signs of recovery. True, sales were down 34% in comparison to the second quarter of 2019. However, some of their models either did well or remained stable through the worst of the quarter, notably the Chevrolet Trailblazer and the Buick Encore GX.

Additionally, the company cites previous austerity measures for preparing them for the recession. Over the last few years, GM has been streamlining its operations, cutting or limiting spending relentlessly. They see themselves as positioned for a swift recovery. Already, GM has all US full-sized pickup truck and SUV plants up to three shifts, with almost all of their other plants running at pre-COVID-19 shift levels.  

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat Chrysler CEO, Mike Manley

Fiat Chrysler also saw sales down, with a 38.6% drop year over year. That said, they too feel there is some room for hope. Sales went up for their New Gladiator during the quarter. Maserati also teased the upcoming Ghibli Hybrid and confirmed that “Maserati Day” will take place this September in Modena, Italy. At the event, the brand will debut future products, along with the Maserati MC20 super sports car.

Said CEO Mike Manley, “Our second quarter showed that decisive actions and extraordinary contributions from our workforce enabled FCA to contain the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. While the company remains vigilant about the health and safety of employees, our plants are up and running, dealers are selling in showrooms and online, and we have the flexibility and financial strength to push ahead with our plans.” 


Like the other two Big Three automakers, Ford also saw their numbers go down from last year. Year over year, Ford dropped by 33.3%. Still, there were some highlights for the company. Their pickup portfolio led sales, gaining share points; the F-Series’ overall second-quarter sales totaled 180,825 pickups. The Ranger also saw overall sales gains.

Amazon veteran Tim Stone named as Ford CFO - Speedlux
Ford CFO, Tim Stone

Finally, like GM, Ford is looking toward recovery. By the end of July, Ford’s North American plants reached 95% of their pre-pandemic production levels. “Our global team is delivering great value for customers, performing strongly and advancing the business against extraordinary headwinds,” said Ford CFO Tim Stone in a company statement. “You’re seeing us fix things that held us back in the past, accelerate in areas like commercial vehicles and SUVs, and set ourselves up for growth in connectivity, electrification, and autonomous vehicles.”


Nissan had perhaps one of the worst showings of the quarter; they dropped by almost 50%. The company projects continued difficulties due to COVID-19 going into the second half of the year.

The brand did have some good news this quarter. Four Nissan vehicles earned top places in the JD Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. The 2020 Sentra, the Versa, the Maxima, and the Armada led the field in compact cars, small cars, large cars, and large SUVs, respectively. 


Volvo was one of the few companies actively celebrating its quarter two release. Though they dipped by about 15% overall during the quarter, they reported their best June and July since 2006. July saw them up 14.2% year over year. The company quotes demand for its SUVs as its secret; in the last month, the XC40 compact SUV has led sales, followed by the XC60 mid-size SUV and the XC90 large SUV.

“Our Volvo colleagues and retail partners across the Americas Region have shown incredible dedication in supporting our customers and business,” said Anders Gustafsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car USA. “I am very proud of our team for working together during this difficult period to help us achieve another month of positive sales growth.”

Did you enjoy this article from Chana Perton? Read other articles from her here.

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