Survey Says

Autolist Survey: Despite economic uncertainty, many car shoppers still expecting to buy in 2020

A new Autolist survey shows that American car buyers are still likely to buy a car in 2020, just not right now.

Photo by Getty Images

As the stock market see-saws between positive and negative territory on an almost daily basis, the chief question for automakers is, "Will people still buy our cars?" There's no need to produce more vehicles if no one has plans to buy the ones already on dealership lots.

A recent Autolist survey of 1,500 current car shoppers found that many had worries about the economy but were still planning on buying a vehicle at some point this year.

Respondents submitted their answers between March 2 and March 24. On March 12, the COVID-19 outbreak was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The results received between March 2 and 11 were grouped together and those received post-pandemic announcement were grouped separately.

According to Autolist,

"Prior to the pandemic declaration on March 11, 80 percent of the car shoppers Autolist polled said they didn't expect the coronavirus to affect their decision to buy a vehicle in 2020. That number fell to 60 percent for shoppers who responded after the pandemic declaration."

Many automakers are recognizing the road ahead is uphill. They are currently offering heavy incentives and zero percent financing for qualified customers. Still, J.D. Power has revised its new vehicle sales projections for 2020 for 16.8 million sales to between 14 and 16 million, estimating that March sales will end up down around 41 percent from 2019.

Some vehicle sales companies, like Carvana, offer the opportunity to purchase a vehicle online, with very little human-to-human contact. Cadillac recently launched a virtual shopping experience and Ford is promoting low-risk vehicle maintenance services in addition to producing supplies for medical workers to use to help combat the effects of the coronavirus.

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New electric pickup truck

GMC Hummer EV deliveries to start soon

Hummer EV deliveries will start in December.

GMC

This year has turned out to be as difficult for automakers as 2020 was, if not much more so. The pandemic is still a major factor, and to make matters worse there's a global microchip shortage that heavily impacts automakers' ability to build tech-heavy vehicles. GMC has a big launch left to handle in 2021, and according to a recent call with journalists, it's proceeding as planned. On a recent call with reporters, GMC exec Duncan Aldred noted that Hummer EV pickup deliveries are on track to begin in December. He also elaborated on the truck's EPA range numbers.

2023 GMC Hummer EV The trucks will deliver up to 329 miles on a charge. GMC

The Hummer's EPA range lands at 329, not far from the 350 miles General Motors targeted for the vehicle. Those are the estimates for the limited Hummer Edition 1, which carries a six-figure price tag and gobs of bells and whistles. Aldred said that other models coming later on will offer longer range estimates when they hit the roads sometime in 2023.

A staggering 80 percent of reservations GMC has gathered so far are for the Edition 1 model. Almost half of the 125,000 people who have inquired about the Hummer EV have placed the refundable $100 deposit and the SUV's first year of production is completely sold out.

2023 GMC Hummer EV The Hummer EV's first year of production is sold out. GMC

When it hits the streets later this year, the Hummer EV will be just in time to face off against a growing crop of EV trucks and SUVs. Rivian recently began delivering the R1T electric pickup truck and will continue with the R1S SUV next year. The Ford F-150 Lightning is coming in 2022, and General Motors itself has a Cadillac EV rollout to handle in 2022. Chevy and GMC will show off electric versions of the Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks on January 5 and GMC will push the Hummer SUV EV in 2023.

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Honda notified dealers of upcoming supply cuts.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda, like all major automakers today, is truly a global operation. Though it produces plenty of vehicles here in the United States, many of the components it relies on for manufacturing come from elsewhere in the world. That means Honda, like the other auto giants, needs its global supply chain operating smoothly in order to prevent disruption. Unfortunately for Honda dealers and potential customers, disruption is what's about to happen. The automaker recently sent a letter to its dealers, forecasting reduced vehicle supply in the coming weeks.


2021 Honda Ridgeline No. 19 - Honda Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


The dealer letter, posted to the Civic XI forum and fan site, was dated August 25 and confirmed by a dealer upset with the development, according to Automotive News. In the letter, Honda cites the ongoing pandemic and microchip shortages as major factors impacting its production efforts. Total shipments to dealers could be cut by up to 40 percent, but not all models will be affected to the same degree.

The letter noted that supplies of the Pilot and Passport SUVs will hold steady, and shared that production of the Civic hatchback is on schedule. However, the situation is fluid and could change at any time, so there's a chance that timelines could speed up or slack off as necessary.


2022 Honda Pilot Some models will see more cuts than others.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


Honda is just the latest in a long line of automakers struggling to keep pace with demand in the face of several converging global crises. In an effort to keep vehicles rolling out of factories, General Motors has implemented selective feature cuts in some of its new vehicles, such as the removal of engine start/stop tech from some trucks and SUVs. Earlier this month, Ford Motor Company told Mustang Mach-E buyers to expect delays of at least six weeks as it grapples with the chip shortage, and will temporarily reduce production capacity at a few of its plants.

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