Models entering the retail channel "really have the wind knocked out of 'em," Jominy said. "You have all the marketing lined up, and all of a sudden we're dealing with unprecedented demand fall-off."
The market disruption is likely to complicate one of the most hyped launches of the year.
Production of the midengine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, already delayed by last year's UAW strike against General Motors, began Feb. 3.
The Corvette, named the 2020 North American Car of the Year, has received more than 45,000 preorders through its website since the car was unveiled in July. Dealer demand is five times what GM has allocated, Steve Majoros, Chevy's U.S. vice president of marketing, told Automotive News in late February.
A tanking stock market and recession have likely turned off the demand spigot for $60,000-and-up sports cars.
"Toys like the Corvette are always very market sensitive," Fiorani said. "Buyers who can afford a specialty car such as this will be far less likely to splurge when their investments have suddenly taken a hard hit."
A GM spokesman said last week that three freshened 2021 Chevrolet models are now delayed due to the crisis: the Equinox, Traverse and Bolt EV. Those programs will now shift to the 2022 model year.
The schedule disruption could even blow Ford Motor Co. off course on its Mustang Mach-E, the automaker's first battery-electric crossover and a symbol of what the company wants to be.
The vehicle is expected to hit full production in Mexico in August, according to forecasters. A spokeswoman could not say whether launch plans were still on target, telling Automotive News last week only that "teams are looking at every program."
Larry P. Vellequette, Michael Martinez and Hannah Lutz contributed to this report.