According to London-based Finaria, auto sales in the U.S. declined by 9.2% when compared to Q3 2019 – a difference of about 400,000 vehicles.
Despite the downturn, these numbers reflected a 33% increase in sales over Q2.
The only automakers registering year-over-year sales increases were Tesla, Mazda and Kia.
Despite seeing a nearly 10% drop in sales, the quarter also brought General Motors $4 billion in profit on $35.5 billion in revenue – a 74% improvement in margin from a year ago.
Similarly, Ford saw sales decrease by 4.9% year-over-year, but its profit for the quarter was $2.5 billion, an increase of $2 billion year-over-year.
Fiat Chrysler posted a 10.2% drop in sales, but profits surged by 26% to $3 billion.
According to Finaria, the increase in sales of higher-margin vehicles, i.e. trucks, vans and SUVs, helped insulate profits despite the drop in sales.
It’s also safe to assume that reductions in production and other overhead costs associated with the pandemic played a role.