Subaru of America, one of the hottest-selling brands in the industry, saw its biggest monthly sales decline in decades, with March deliveries plunging 47 percent as the automaker grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The drop in March is the largest decline since sales fell 49 percent in Feb. 1990, the company said.
Since January 2009, Subaru has posted just 14 monthly declines. Half of those down months took place in 2011, when the automaker was recovering from natural disasters in Japan.
Subaru's streak of year-over-year monthly sales gains ended last year in September, at 93 months.
Through the first quarter of 2020, Subaru has sold 130,591 vehicles, a drop of 17 percent from the first quarter of 2019.
With March's drop, Subaru's U.S. sales goal for 2020 — an increase of 3.6 percent to 725,000 vehicles — could be in jeopardy. A record 2020 would have been Subaru's 12th consecutive year of record U.S. sales.
The automaker is now offering 0 percent financing to well-qualified buyers for 63 months. The offer applies to all Imprezas, Legacys, Foresters, Outbacks and Ascents and runs through April 30.
Subaru is also offering a payment deferment program for up to 90 days on select vehicles.
Notable nameplates (March): Outback, down 54%; Forester, down 34%; Crosstrek, down 47%; Ascent, down 49%; Legacy, down 48%; Impreza, down 55%; WRX/WRX STI, down 45%; BRZ, down 64%
Incentives: $1,148 per vehicle, down 24% from a year earlier, ALG says.
Average transaction price: $30,184, up 1.9% from a year earlier, according to ALG.
Quote: "Our March sales reflect the current trends in the marketplace, with government guidelines around social distancing and stay-at-home orders limiting car buying across the board," said Jeff Walters, senior vice president of sales.
Did you know? March snapped a number of streaks that Subaru of America had been tracking. With sales of 32,611 vehicles, Subaru's monthly streak of selling more than 40,000 vehicles has ended at 72 months. Subaru sold 8,571 Outbacks and 9,413 Foresters in March, which means its monthly streak of selling more than 10,000 Outbacks has ended at 72 months and its monthly streak of selling more than 10,000 Foresters has ended at 79 months.