The novel coronavirus is expected to deal a heavy blow to the auto industry’s U.S. sales numbers for March, but there is reason for optimism amid the uncertainty: Most of the lost customers will eventually come back.
Analysts say demand will be bottled up for now. The key question is how long it will take for life to get back to normal as restrictions in various markets keep consumers away from dealerships. J.D. Power said 25 states had enacted stay-at-home or essential-business mandates as of March 25 that affected 199 million people, or 60 percent of the U.S. population.
The industry is “far better prepared” to weather this crisis, and “is in a healthier position, after experiencing the 2008-2009 Great Recession,” LMC Automotive said.
“There are some people that are going to defer their purchase,” Eric Lyman, chief industry analyst for ALG, told Automotive News. “We see there’s so much data present that tells us that the majority of these sales aren’t going to be lost. They’re…