DETROIT — Sales of new vehicles in the U.S. fell 14.6% last year, but a second-half rebound from a coronavirusrelated plunge in the spring kindled optimism for a recovery later this year.
Automakers on Tuesday reported selling 14.57 million new vehicles for the year, a far cry from the five previous years with sales over 17 million. But the 2020 performance was better than most forecasters had expected when the pandemic forced auto factories and many dealerships to shut down in April and May.
General Motors Chief Economist Elaine Buckberg said she expects sales to recover in the spring. With warmer weather and widening novel coronavirus vaccinations, life should return more toward normal, lifting the job market and auto demand, she said in a statement.
“We feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Randy Parker, vice president of sales for Hyundai Motor America. “I think it’s