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COVID-19, buyer preference push US passenger car sales to record low in 2020

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COVID-19, buyer preference push US passenger car sales to record low in 2020

Passenger car sales in the U.S. hit a historic low in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit auto demand and consumers continued to favor trucks and SUVs.

Nonseasonally adjusted passenger car sales in the U.S. slumped 27.70% year on year in 2020 to 3.41 million units, reaching their lowest level since the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis began tracking the data in 1967, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

Sales of trucks, minivans and SUVs for the period declined 9.66% year on year to 11.06 million units, as the overall nonseasonally adjusted U.S. vehicle sales for 2020 fell 14.68% to 14.46 million units from 16.95 million units in 2019.

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Detroit-based General Motors Co. sold 2.55 million units in 2020, down 11.8% from the year prior. But the company posted a 4.8% year-over-year increase in fourth-quarter sales to 771,323 vehicles as sales grew across all its brands except Buick.

Rival Ford Motor Co. registered a yearly decline of 15.6% in sales to 2.04 million units as full-year car sales fell 44.7%. Sales at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV dropped 17.4% from a year earlier to 1.82 million units.

Tesla Inc., the world's most valuable automaker by market capitalization, does not break out its delivery numbers for the U.S. but on Jan. 2 said it delivered 499,550 vehicles overall last year. The company did not respond to a request for data on its U.S. numbers.

Ford's F-Series remained the highest-selling vehicle throughout the year even as it posted a 12.2% annual decline in sales to 787,422 units. General Motors' Chevrolet Silverado saw a year-on-year rise of 3.2% in sales to 594,094 vehicles, taking second place among the highest-selling vehicles.

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