Cars with the Greatest Slowdown in Sales Due to COVID-19

By Julie Blackley

Which slow-selling models are most likely to bring negotiation opportunities?

Car sales have decreased dramatically in the wake of COVID-19 due to social distancing measures and the economic downturn. However, some car models have been more impacted than others. 

iSeeCars analyzed over 1.8 million used cars for sale in February and March 2020 to determine which models have the most significant slowdown in sales, i.e. models with the largest drop in the percentage of cars sold within a month of being listed. These vehicles present prime negotiation opportunities for consumers who are in the market for a used car. 

“Overall car sales have plummeted as a result of stay-at-home orders and the economic downturn,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “But for those fortunate enough to be able to make a car purchase, now is an opportune time as dealers increasingly need to move inventory, and these slow-selling models could present great deals.” 

iSeeCars Top 15 Cars With Greatest Slowdown in Sales
Rank Vehicle % Sold w/in 30 days Feb 2020 % Sold w/in 30 days Mar 2020 2020 Feb – Mar % Sold diff
1 Tesla Model 3 71.5% 47.4% -24.2%
2 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 62.2% 41.3% -20.9%
3 Volkswagen Atlas 64.7% 45.3% -19.4%
4 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 53.9% 34.9% -19.0%
5 Tesla Model X 57.9% 40.4% -17.5%
6 Chevrolet Spark 62.6% 45.4% -17.1%
7 Toyota RAV4 60.0% 43.2% -16.8%
8 Toyota C-HR 54.0% 37.2% -16.8%
9 Lexus GX 460 58.4% 41.7% -16.7%
10 Honda HR-V 53.0% 36.4% -16.6%
11 Honda Pilot 59.7% 43.4% -16.2%
12 Toyota Highlander 64.1% 47.9% -16.1%
13 Honda Civic 65.1% 49.1% -15.9%
14 Honda Odyssey 63.4% 47.6% -15.8%
15 Honda CR-V 57.8% 42.1% -15.7%
Overall Average -9.8%
The top fifteen cars that have the greatest slowdown in sales between February and March are a mix of alternative fuel vehicles as well as cars and SUVs of varying sizes. 

The top model with the greatest slowdown in sales between February and March is the Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle, with a drop of almost 25 percentage points from February to March for its inventory selling within 30 days of being listed.  “The Tesla Model 3 is typically in very high demand, and as a result, it is the used car with the best resale value,” said Ly. “However, because they are lingering on lots now is the time when dealers may offer more deals than usual.”  A second Tesla model, the Model X, makes the list as the car with the fifth-greatest slowdown in sales. “Like the Model 3, the Model X is also in high demand,” said Ly. “The Model X is the most expensive vehicle on the list, with an average price of $70,162 for three-year-old versions. Demand may additionally be lowered because potential buyers could be waiting for the release of the lower-priced Model Y SUV that started deliveries in March 2020.”

Four Toyota SUVs make the list including the second-ranked Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the seventh-ranked Toyota RAV4, the eighth-ranked Toyota CH-R, and the twelfth-ranked Toyota Highlander. “The Toyota RAV4 and the Toyota Highlander are two of the best-selling SUVs in America, while the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid saw supply shortages in 2019 due to its popularity,” said Ly. “The popularity of these vehicles is largely due to Toyota’s reliability, which makes these vehicles smart buys.” A vehicle from Toyota’s luxury extension, Lexus, is the lone luxury vehicle on the list with the GX 460. “Those who want a luxury off-road SUV can likely get a great deal on the Lexus GX 460,” Ly commented.

Honda is the most represented car brand on the list with five vehicles: the tenth-ranked HR-V, the eleventh-ranked Pilot, the thirteenth-ranked Civic, the fourteenth-ranked Odyssey, and the fifteenth-ranked CR-V. “These vehicles are all leaders in their classes thanks to their safety and proven longevity,” said Ly. “It shows that popular models across all vehicle types are seeing significant changes in selling times, which could bring deals to those who want a reliable used car.”

A pair of newer SUVs that debuted for the 2018 model year comprise the third and fourth position on the list: the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and the Volkswagen Atlas respectively. “The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is one of the most affordable SUVs in the compact class, while the Volkswagen Atlas midsize SUV is among the best SUVs for families thanks to its cargo space and safety ratings,” said Ly. 

Rounding out the list is the sixth-ranked Chevrolet Spark subcompact car. “With a low starting price and a long list of standard features, the Chevrolet Spark is a good value for those looking for a small car,” said Ly. “Consumers looking for a used version can likely get a great deal on the already affordable vehicle.” 

Used Car Prices: Slow-Selling Cars

“The vehicles with the greatest slowdown in sales cover a wide range of price points and car types, so there are potential deals for many types of consumers,” said Ly. The following are prices for the one-year-old, three-year-old, and five-year-old used versions of the vehicles with the greatest sales slowdown:
Top 15 Vehicles With Greatest Sales Slowdown: Used Car Prices
Rank Vehicle 1-Year-Old Average Used Car Price 3-Year-Old Average Used Car Price 5-Year-Old Average Used Car Price
1 Tesla Model 3 $45,361 $41,911 -
2 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid $32,368 $24,334 -
3 Volkswagen Atlas $31,077 - -
4 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross $17,450 - -
5 Tesla Model X $88,114 $70,162 -
6 Chevrolet Spark $11,962 $10,214 $7,692
7 Toyota RAV4 $24,390 $20,171 $16,399
8 Toyota C-HR $19,727 - -
9 Lexus GX 460 $47,830 $37,420 $29,236
10 Honda HR-V $21,688 $17,670 -
11 Honda Pilot $34,494 $28,123 $19,003
12 Toyota Highlander $30,269 $28,467 $22,561
13 Honda Civic $19,404 $16,439 $12,812
14 Honda Odyssey $33,573 $25,809 $18,974
15 Honda CR-V $26,571 $22,558 $16,752
The most expensive vehicle on the list is the Tesla Model X with an average price of $88,114 for one-year-old models, while the Chevrolet Spark is the least expensive with a five-year-old version having an average price of $7,692.  

Slow-Selling Cars by Price Point

To accommodate a broad range of budgets, iSeeCars examined the average used car prices of one- to nine-year-old vehicles on the list to determine which ones sell for under $10,000, $15,000, and $20,000. 

Vehicles Under $10,000

When examining the vehicles with the greatest sales slowdown, here are the cars under $10,000 that can be found:
Vehicles With Greatest Sales Slowdown Under $10,000
1 2012 Honda Civic $9,120
2 2016 Chevrolet Spark $9,048

Vehicles Under $15,000

iSeeCars determined which cars under $15,000 could be found on the list:
Vehicles With Greatest Sales Slowdown Under $15,000
1 2015 Honda Civic $12,812
2 2014 Honda CR-V $14,709
3 2012 Toyota Highlander $14,700
4 2013 Honda Odyssey $14,036
5 2012 Honda Pilot $13,375
6 2013 Toyota RAV4 $14,271
7 2019 Chevrolet Spark $11,962

Vehicles Under $20,000

iSeeCars determined which cars under $20,000 could be found on the list:
Vehicles With Greatest Sales Slowdown Under $20,000
1 2019 Toyota CH-R $19,727
2 2019 Honda Civic $19,404
3 2016 Honda CR-V $18,178
4 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
5 2013 Toyota Highlander  $16,487
6 2018 Honda HR-V $18,802
7 2015 Honda Odyssey $18,974
8 2015 Honda Pilot $19,003
9 2016 Toyota RAV4 $18,313

Geographic Analysis

COVID-19 Used Car Sales Impact: Ranking of 20 Largest Metro Areas

iSeeCars analyzed the data geographically to determine the difference in percentages of cars sold within a month between February and March in the 20 most populous metropolitan areas.
COVID-19 Used Car Sales Slowdown: Ranking of 20 Largest Metros
Population Rank Metro Area % Sold w/in 30 days Feb 2020 % Sold w/in 30 days Mar 2020 2020 Feb – Mar % Sold diff
1 New York, NY 49.9% 33.3% -16.6%
2 Seattle-Tacoma, WA 55.0% 39.6% -15.4%
3 Philadelphia, PA 52.7% 39.3% -13.5%
4 Denver, CO 55.4% 42.3% -13.1%
5 Boston, MA-Manchester, NH 51.4% 38.8% -12.6%
6 Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL 66.2% 53.6% -12.6%
7 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL 62.4% 50.6% -11.8%
8 Los Angeles, CA 56.7% 46.6% -10.1%
9 Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX 61.4% 51.6% -9.8%
10 Detroit, MI 54.1% 44.5% -9.6%
11 Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN 50.4% 41.8% -8.6%
12 Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL 60.6% 52.0% -8.6%
13 Chicago, IL 52.8% 44.5% -8.3%
14 Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD) 55.3% 47.6% -7.6%
15 Atlanta, GA 61.4% 54.0% -7.4%
16 Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH 53.0% 46.4% -6.6%
17 Phoenix, AZ 58.7% 52.7% -6.0%
18 Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA 66.6% 61.9% -4.7%
19 Houston, TX 62.3% 58.2% -4.1%
20 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA 67.9% 64.2% -3.8%
Of the 20 largest metro areas, New York, NY was the most impacted while San Francisco was impacted the least. “New York City was the epicenter of the Coronavirus, so it makes sense why shoppers wouldn’t want to visit dealerships,” said Ly.  “Also the State of New York had strict restrictions in place including banning test drives, which could have played a significant role.” As for San Francisco, Ly said, “California banned in-person car sales, so the lower percentage suggests that Bay Area dealers may have been able to adapt to an online selling model.”

COVID-19 Used Car Sales Impact: Ranking of 50 Largest Metro Areas

iSeeCars also analyzed the data to rank the slowdown in used car sales between February and March 2020 in the 50 most populous metro areas. 
COVID-19 Used Car Sales Slowdown: Ranking of 50 Largest Metros
Rank Metro Area % Sold w/in 30 days Feb 2020 % Sold w/in 30 days Mar 2020 2020 Feb – Mar % Sold diff
1 Harrisburg-Lancaster-York, PA 49.6% 32.2% -17.4%
2 New York, NY 49.9% 33.3% -16.6%
3 Seattle-Tacoma, WA 55.0% 39.6% -15.4%
4 St. Louis, MO 50.8% 36.4% -14.4%
5 Philadelphia, PA 52.7% 39.3% -13.5%
6 Denver, CO 55.4% 42.3% -13.1%
7 Pittsburgh, PA 57.1% 44.1% -13.0%
8 Fresno-Visalia, CA 67.0% 54.2% -12.8%
9 Boston, MA-Manchester, NH 51.4% 38.8% -12.6%
10 Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL 66.2% 53.6% -12.6%
11 Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, MI 51.7% 39.3% -12.4%
12 San Antonio, TX 58.4% 46.1% -12.3%
13 Cincinnati, OH 50.6% 38.6% -12.0%
14 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL 62.4% 50.6% -11.8%
15 Oklahoma City, OK 56.8% 45.1% -11.7%
16 San Diego, CA 63.8% 52.7% -11.2%
17 Birmingham, AL 53.4% 42.3% -11.1%
18 Austin, TX 65.3% 54.4% -10.9%
19 Greensboro-Winston Salem, NC 53.7% 43.1% -10.6%
20 Indianapolis, IN 52.8% 42.3% -10.5%
21 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM 58.7% 48.2% -10.5%
22 Los Angeles, CA 56.7% 46.6% -10.1%
23 Portland, OR 57.4% 47.5% -9.9%
24 Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX 61.4% 51.6% -9.8%
Overall Average -9.8%
25 Detroit, MI 54.1% 44.5% -9.6%
26 Hartford & New Haven, CT 51.1% 41.8% -9.3%
27 Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN 50.4% 41.8% -8.6%
28 Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL 60.6% 52.0% -8.6%
29 Chicago, IL 52.8% 44.5% -8.3%
30 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL 63.5% 55.8% -7.7%
31 Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD) 55.3% 47.6% -7.6%
32 Atlanta, GA 61.4% 54.0% -7.4%
33 Jacksonville, FL 59.1% 51.8% -7.4%
34 Greenville-Spartanburg, SC 61.0% 53.7% -7.3%
35 Las Vegas, NV 63.3% 56.2% -7.1%
36 Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH 53.0% 46.4% -6.6%
37 Salt Lake City, UT 50.0% 43.4% -6.6%
38 Memphis, TN 53.5% 46.9% -6.5%
39 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), NC 55.4% 49.0% -6.4%
40 Columbus, OH 59.4% 53.0% -6.4%
41 Milwaukee, WI 47.5% 41.3% -6.3%
42 Charlotte, NC 63.9% 57.9% -6.1%
43 Phoenix, AZ 58.7% 52.7% -6.0%
44 Nashville, TN 61.5% 56.0% -5.5%
45 Baltimore, MD 55.1% 49.7% -5.4%
46 Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA 66.6% 61.9% -4.7%
47 Kansas City, MO 50.2% 45.9% -4.3%
48 Houston, TX 62.3% 58.2% -4.1%
49 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA 67.9% 64.2% -3.8%
50 Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News,VA 54.1% 52.1% -2.0%
The metro area with the greatest slowdown in sales is Harrisburg-Lancaster-York, Pennsylvania, which is joined by a second metro area from the same state--Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ranking fifth. “Pennsylvania had strict orders to limit vehicle sales online and in person, which explains why these metro areas were among the most impacted.” Added Ly, “Virginia auto dealers remained open as long as sanitation and social distancing practices were followed, so the greater Norfolk area wasn’t as impacted as areas with stricter measures.”

COVID-19 Used Car Sales Impact by State

iSeeCars further analyzed the data to see the slowdown of used car sales by state.
COVID-19 Used Car Sales Slowdown: Ranking by State
Rank State % Sold w/in 30 days Feb 2020 % Sold w/in 30 days Mar 2020 2020 Feb – Mar % Sold diff
1 Pennsylvania 50.6% 35.0% -15.6%
2 Massachusetts 51.1% 35.6% -15.5%
3 New York 51.0% 36.0% -15.0%
4 Washington 55.5% 40.6% -14.9%
5 New Jersey 50.4% 35.9% -14.5%
6 Hawaii 58.0% 43.7% -14.3%
7 Wyoming 51.6% 37.5% -14.1%
8 Rhode Island 46.1% 32.2% -13.9%
9 Colorado 54.4% 41.4% -13.0%
10 Kentucky 52.2% 39.5% -12.7%
11 North Dakota  52.3% 40.0% -12.3%
12 Michigan 53.8% 41.6% -12.2%
13 Louisiana 56.3% 44.5% -11.9%
14 Vermont 56.4% 44.9% -11.6%
15 West Virginia 52.1% 40.5% -11.5%
16 New Mexico 59.0% 48.3% -10.7%
17 Indiana 52.2% 41.7% -10.4%
18 Oklahoma 56.4% 46.4% -10.0%
19 Florida 62.9% 53.2% -9.8%
Overall Average -9.8%
20 Connecticut 49.9% 40.2% -9.6%
21 New Hampshire 49.6% 40.0% -9.6%
22 South Dakota 45.1% 35.9% -9.2%
23 Minnesota 50.5% 41.7% -8.8%
24 South Carolina 60.5% 51.9% -8.6%
25 Alabama 54.9% 46.3% -8.6%
26 Oregon 54.6% 46.1% -8.6%
27 Arkansas 56.2% 47.7% -8.5%
28 Texas 61.5% 53.0% -8.5%
29 California 61.8% 53.4% -8.4%
30 Maine 46.8% 38.4% -8.4%
31 Illinois 50.2% 41.8% -8.4%
32 Montana  49.2% 40.9% -8.3%
33 Virginia 52.9% 44.8% -8.1%
34 Ohio 54.5% 46.7% -7.8%
35 Tennessee 58.5% 50.9% -7.6%
36 Iowa 47.1% 39.5% -7.6%
37 Delaware 68.0% 60.4% -7.6%
38 North Carolina 59.0% 51.6% -7.4%
39 Nebraska 51.2% 43.8% -7.4%
40 Georgia 60.5% 53.3% -7.2%
41 Nevada 61.7% 54.6% -7.1%
42 Utah 50.2% 43.2% -7.0%
43 Kansas 50.2% 43.3% -6.9%
44 Missouri 52.3% 45.4% -6.9%
45 Alaska 46.2% 39.3% -6.9%
46 Arizona 58.2% 52.3% -5.9%
47 Wisconsin 46.8% 41.5% -5.3%
48 Mississippi 55.0% 50.1% -4.9%
49 Maryland 58.6% 54.9% -3.7%
50 Idaho 47.8% 44.9% -2.9%
The state with the greatest slowdown in used car sales is Pennsylvania. “It’s no surprise that the state’s strict ban on auto sales slowed down how long it takes cars to sell,” said Ly. The state with the smallest impact is Idaho. “Unlike Pennsylvania, car sales weren’t banned in Idaho and were permitted as long as social distancing measures were followed,” noted Ly.

Many dealers are taking special precautions such as conducting online transactions and contact-free services so consumers who want to can still safely purchase a car”, said Ly. “Used car shoppers should look at how long a vehicle has been on the lot because dealers will be more willing to discount slow-moving vehicles.”

Methodology

iSeeCars analyzed over 1.8 million used cars listed from February 1st to March 18th, 2020, tracking when these cars were sold. The percentage of each model that was sold within 30 days of being listed was calculated for cars listed in February vs. March, and the difference between these two percentages was used to rank the Top 15 Cars with the Greatest Slowdown in Sales. Models discontinued prior to the 2020 model year, heavy-duty vehicles, and low-volume models were excluded from further analysis. The average prices of used one- to nine-year-old versions of the Top 15 Cars with the Greatest Slowdown in Sales were also calculated.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check reports. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $217 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.