"From there, we have consistently improved week after week, with sales in the most recent weeks being up about 20 percent to 30 percent year over year," Garcia said on an earnings call last week. "It is difficult to get clear visibility into exactly how the industry performed over the last several weeks, but every indication is that Carvana has outperformed the industry quite significantly and grown our market share accordingly over this period."
Cox Automotive estimates that total used-vehicle sales volume was down 34 percent in April. Some auto retailers, such as the publicly traded groups, have seen improving overall sales in recent weeks but volume that is still down on an annual basis.
Carvana, like others, has been forced to cut costs in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. It has eliminated overtime and travel budgets, reduced employees' hours and put hiring on hold.
It also has paused entering new markets and building vehicle vending machines. The company did, however, say it expects to open in "many smaller markets" that can be served from its current logistics network with limited investment. That will bring its U.S. coverage to 73 percent of the population in the near term. It ended the first quarter in 161 markets and with 24 vending machines.
Carvana has launched marketing spots tailored to the times, saying in one commercial that doing a 100 percent online, from-home transaction is a "safer way" to buy a car. It also implemented a 90-day payment deferment option.
And to shore up its finances, the company raised $600 million from investors through a March 30 stock offering. It also announced that Ally would provide $2 billion of capacity for the purchase of finance receivables during the next 12 months. The company had a $1 billion credit facility with Ally that expired in April.
Carvana has been growing rapidly but has yet to report a profit. Its top-line growth was in double digits for the first quarter but below the company's past pace.
Revenue grew 45 percent on an annual basis in the period to $1.09 billion. Retail vehicle sales increased 43 percent to 52,427. The company's total gross profit per vehicle was $2,640 vs. $2,408 the year earlier, but it was down from $2,850 in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Carvana's net loss widened to $183.6 million from a loss of $82.6 million in the year-earlier quarter.