Auto manufacturers got a bit of good news after a long year in which the coronavirus pandemic largely kept buyers away from dealership lots.
New vehicle sales were up 8 percent compared to the same three-month stretch last year, Car and Driver reports. Toyota (22%), Hyundai (28%), Nissan (11%), Subaru (23%), and Kia (14%), were among the brands that saw double-digit growth over the period.
“Kia anticipates automobile demand to improve alongside the ongoing economic recovery from the global pandemic,” the company said in a statement announcing its first-quarter results.
Although the new sales figures are welcomed news for carmakers, they come with a couple of caveats.
New car sales were up compared to the first quarter of last year when the pandemic led to shutdowns around the world toward the end of the quarter. Sales were still down by nearly 5%, however, compared to the same three months in 2019.
Meanwhile, a semiconductor shortage has the industry worried about car production in 2021. Some plants have been slowed or shuttered, and automakers are expected to produce as many as five million fewer vehicles than previously anticipated this year.
“Possibilities of lingering impacts of COVID-19 and the supply issues of semiconductor parts are likely to leave growing uncertainties in the industry,” Kia said when it unveiled the company’s first-quarter results.
Still, you cannot blame car companies for breathing a sigh of relief at what appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
“The fact that we're surpassing last year's numbers when the pandemic didn't even hit the industry until the last two weeks of March 2020 is no small feat,” Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights, said in a release ahead of the new sales data. “Seeing sales continue at such a strong rate despite all of the challenges presented by COVID-19 is an ongoing testament to the strength of the automotive industry and the confidence of the American consumer.”
Defective Vehicle? How an Orange County Lemon Law Attorney Can Help
While the new car sales numbers are yet another sign of a possible return to some semblance of normalcy following the pandemic, they come as car manufacturers continue to struggle to put vehicles on the road that are safe to drive.
Carmakers recall millions of vehicles every year, citing a wide range of defects and other problems that put everyone on the road in harm’s way. These issues are often not spotted until long after cars have left dealership lots.
There is good news for car owners and lessors in California: You have some valuable rights under the state’s lemon law. The law requires car manufacturers to perform repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty and to buy back or replace cars that the company cannot or will not fix.
If you are locked in a dispute with a car manufacturer over a malfunctioning vehicle, an experienced Orange County lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help. An attorney at our firm will explain your rights and explore your options for making sure that the manufacturer is made accountable.
Our offices are conveniently located in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with an Orange County lemon law attorney today.