How badly will rail traffic be hurt by loss of auto business? (Jim Blaze; Railroad Economist)

Jim Blaze Headshot (2)

How badly will rail traffic be hurt by loss of auto business?
Auto sales have already started their headlong fall during March -- MORE pain likely in April

 

CAR & DRIVER report this afternoon:

U.S. new-vehicle sales for the first quarter and the month of March are rolling in, and the first indications are that the spread of COVID-19 has led to massive downturns in buying.
 
FCA reported a 10.4 percent decline in first-quarter sales, a decline cushioned by a 7 percent increase in Ram pickup truck sales. Ram was the only FCA brand to see an increase in sales through the last quarter; Dodge dropped 20 percent and Jeep fell 14 percent.
 
General Motors saw a decline of 7.1 percent in first-quarter sales. Of GM's brands, Buick took the bulk of the decline with sales falling 34.7 percent this past quarter. Pickups lessened the blow for GM, with the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado seeing quarterly sales increases across both heavy- and light-duty lineups.
 
COVID-19 DISRUPTIONS:
 
U.S. Sales, Production to See Huge Declines.
U.S. Automakers to Extend Production Shutdown.
 
Sales dropped off similarly for Toyota, falling 36.9 percent in March for the automaker and 8.8 percent for the first quarter. No model in the Toyota or Lexus lineup was spared from the decline.
 
Look for a lot of TTX bi-levels and tri-levels needing a place to "park." Also lots of hi-cube parts boxcars.