First it was the California upstart Tesla, refusing to go along with the industry establishment, providing only global quarterly results. In 2018, industry leader General Motors balked, saying it was done with the practice. And last year, GM's two Detroit competitors, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler, followed suit.
Many observers lay the disruption at the feet of Tesla.
The closely watched, publicly traded startup chose not to advertise its month-in, month-out achievements as it launched, and Wall Street didn't seem to mind its lack of transparency. Tesla's stock rose to unprecedented heights, making the company worth more on paper than GM and Ford combined.
"The auto industry is asking itself: 'Tesla doesn't do monthly reporting and they are being hugely rewarded, so why do we do it?' " Tyson Jominy, vice president of the Power Information Network at J.D. Power, told Automotive News last week.
Automakers apparently see an opportunity to take a break from monthly pressures and find a truer picture of their market results — especially now, at a time of falling sales and shifting consumer preferences. Sales of some car models have plummeted in the past two years, but only because customers are driving off dealership lots in new crossovers instead of sedans.
"We think it's a good way for us to provide a clearer picture of the sales performance over a longer period of time," a Nissan spokesman said last week. "There's a lot of monthly variances in sales — there's spikes and troughs. We think this will just smooth those."
Added Jominy: "There's not a lot of good news to go around. So how many times in a year do you want to give bad news?"