FILE PHOTO: Automobiles are shown for sale at a car dealership in Carlsbad, California, U.S. May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
(Reuters) – Light vehicle sales in the United States fell nearly 27% in March compared with a month earlier, data released by an automotive research group showed on Wednesday, as the coronavirus outbreak intensified and shuttered dealerships across much of the country.
Last month, 992,392 light vehicles were sold, down from about 1.4 million in February, according to Wards Intelligence.
The seasonally adjusted annualized rate for U.S. cars and light trucks sales was estimated at 11.4 million units, down from 16.8 million units in February, Wards Intelligence said.
Moody’s Investors Service said on Friday that U.S. light vehicle sales would fall at least 15% in 2020 as the ratings agency sharply cut its 2020 outlook for global auto sales, with Western Europe expected to take the biggest hit.
The development comes as the United States is looking at an increasing number of deaths from the coronavirus outbreak, with Reuters’ tally showing more than 4,500 deaths and over 200,000 infections.
President Donald Trump and his top healthcare advisers urged Americans to follow strict social distancing measures ahead of a “tough two weeks” that could see at least 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu