New vehicle sales seasonality has always been rather predictable. The end of the fiscal year, the model year changeover, Labor Day, and the end of the year have always led to stronger months in March, May, August/September, and December.
However, during recessions, seasonality trends break from their normal patterns—and this year is no exception. While we know the patterns will be different due to COVID-19, the variation is difficult to predict. That’s because the prolonged impact of the pandemic, which has led to stay-at-home orders, record jobless claims, declining consumer confidence, delayed tax returns, usage of stimulus checks, and increased OEM incentive spend is still relatively unknown. This makes 2020 unlike any other.