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For all of the instances that “unprecedented” served as an correct adjective for information in 2020—and automakers did see loads of that this 12 months—a number of the most newsworthy occasions of 2020 had been continuations from 2019 and even 2018. American automotive consumers as soon as once more purchased extra SUVs and vans than sedans, simply doing so to a better diploma this 12 months. The push towards electrification continued, and Tesla‘s dominance in electrical autos was onerous to disregard. And though we’ve seen many truck names come again lately, 2020 was maybe the apex of that development.
However sure, there isn’t a speaking about 2020 with out speaking about COVID-19. The pandemic was an outsize driver of reports this 12 months, and that stayed true for the auto trade. There isn’t a separating the largest information tales of this 12 months from the pandemic, even when , as an illustration, the debut of the GMC Hummer EV looks as if it would not be associated to the pandemic (trace: the pandemic delayed that reveal, like many others).
So listed below are the largest information tales from a very uncommon 12 months. Possibly if we’re fortunate, as soon as the calendar says “2021,” we’ll neglect any of this occurred.
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Of all the pieces that occurred this 12 months, COVID-19 underscored practically all of it.
One of many trendiest issues to do that 12 months: announce plans to your future electric-vehicle lineup and gross sales targets.
The opposite fashionable factor to do: revive a truck nameplate.
Within the final couple of years, many beforehand retired names had been introduced again, together with the Lincoln Aviator, the Chevrolet Blazer and Trailblazer, and the Ford Ranger. Possibly it has been to capitalize on identify recognition or just because these names had been already trademarked. Both method, this development absolutely realized its potential this 12 months.
In 2020 alone, automakers introduced again the Ford Bronco, the GMC Hummer (now in EV type), and the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, the three of which make up a number of the most recognizable SUV nameplates ever to see American roads. And every automaker made positive the revamped examples could be much more memorable than their former variations.
Tesla, with 5 consecutive quarters of revenue, confirmed it is a power to be reckoned with—one which’s not going wherever anytime quickly.
Vans and SUVs saved the automakers from what might’ve been a dismal 12 months.
After the pandemic started within the U.S., new-vehicle gross sales tanked—however SUV and truck gross sales took a lot much less of successful than the remainder of the market. Every time automakers reported gross sales, whether or not it was at month-to-month or quarterly intervals, the power and recognition of SUVs and vans underlined the outcomes. That is what finally led to a worthwhile third quarter for a lot of automakers.
In April, pickup-truck gross sales handed these of sedans for the primary time ever, a growth helped by contracting sedan gross sales. Nonetheless, the success of dearer autos by the pandemic is one other indication of who the pandemic has been taking the largest toll on: lower-income people, whereas these with increased incomes saved their jobs and saved shopping for autos.
Sedans, notably for American automakers, have gotten shut to only being a reminiscence.
The transformation to sedan-free lineups began a number of years in the past, however this 12 months sedan choices—notably these from American automakers—shrank significantly. Ford now not has any sedans being constructed because the Ford Fusion, Lincoln Continental, and Lincoln MKZ all ended manufacturing this 12 months. Within the General Motors lineup, the Chevrolet Impala and Sonic and the Cadillac CT6 all got here to an finish in 2020.
The transition got here at a superb time; fewer individuals had been available in the market for sedans this 12 months, and low-cost gasoline costs bolstered gross sales for the SUVs and vans during which automakers have invested closely. And whereas we aren’t going to see each vendor lot go utterly sedan-free, we are able to’t neglect in regards to the sedans from quite a few different automakers that American consumers will now not get, together with the Acura RLX, Honda Match, Jaguar XE, Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz SLC, and Toyota Yaris.
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