Auto Insurance

Top 5 Car Companies That Withstood the Financial Implications of COVID-19

Amid a global pandemic and subsequent financial downturn, the U.S. auto industry has suffered greatly. Specifically, **U.S. auto sales have decreased by nearly 30%** year-to-date and have only slowly begun to recover going into the second half of the year.
Airport terminal parking lot.
Airport terminal parking lot. Source: Getty Images

For this reason, ValuePenguin took a deep dive into the auto manufacturing industry to see which vehicles are withstanding the financial implications of these unprecedented times. We also took a look at which manufacturers have developed strategies to combat a downturn in sales and demand.

Key Findings

1. Ford F-Series — 306,792 units sold

The Ford F-Series, which includes the incredibly popular pickups Ford F-150 and F-250, has been the bestselling vehicle unit in the U.S. Although this car has performed the best on a pure units level, sales of the F-Series have dropped by nearly 23% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 (180,826 units versus 233,787 units).

2. Chevrolet Silverado — 219,457 units sold

The second bestselling vehicle was the Chevrolet Silverado. Sales for this pickup truck decreased by 12% year over year, which represents the smallest loss in sales among these five top-selling automobiles. When looking closer at month-over-month sales trends, the Silverado only sold about 22,000 units in April, its worst monthly performance this year.

3. Ram pickup — 204,418 units sold

The Ram pickup was the third bestselling automobile and the last truck within the top five. But, like other trucks, the Ram pickup saw a decrease in year-over-year sales of nearly 35% (117,448 units sold versus 179,454 units sold) making it the worst-performing truck over the time period.

4. Toyota RAV4 — 150,203 units sold

The Toyota RAV4 was the best-performing SUV on a unit level, but it also suffered significant losses in year-over-year sales — declining by 27%. However, among all Toyota vehicles, the RAV4 has still been the bestselling vehicle for the second quarter — selling more than 85,000 units. The next closest vehicle for Toyota was the Tacoma, selling more than 51,000 units.

5. Honda CR-V — 112,871 units sold

Honda and its CR-V model rounded out the top five in total units sold up to the end of the second quarter of 2020. But unit sales dropped by 25% compared to the same period in 2019.

Mazda had the best resiliency in sales during COVID-19, only decreasing close to 10% compared to 2019.

Mazda has been the top-performing company when comparing manufacturer sales between quarter two of 2020 — the start of the COVID-19 era — and the same period of 2019. The next closest competitor is Daimler AG, manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz and Smart, which saw a decrease in car sales of nearly 14%.

Largest Car manufacturer Performance during COVID-19

The Audi Q3 has been the best performing vehicle year over year.

Furthermore, sales for the all-new Jeep Gladiator have increased by 175%, selling more than 19,000 vehicles. Many of the best-performing vehicles found below are brand-new cars for the 2020 retail season. So even when some of a brand's staple vehicles see downturns in sales, such as the Toyota RAV-4 and Ford F-150, Americans are still interested in new car releases like the Gladiator.

Best performing car

Among SUVs, Subaru improved sales of its Forester model by 3%.

When looking at other top-competing SUVs, no other model saw increases in sales year over year. Interestingly, Subaru's other SUV model, the Outback, was one of the worst-performing vehicles in terms of sales, decreasing by nearly 43%.

Declining sales of SUVs, the ideal vehicle for road trips and family outings, is a telling indicator that many families are not going out and spending money on a new automobile. Instead, they're choosing to extend the life of their current vehicle, going for a used car or looking for cheaper options.

2020 Q2
2019 Q2
Percent change
Subaru Forester46,78045,5632.70%
Toyota 4Runner29,35630,044-2.30%
Hyundai Tucson34,20637,123-7.90%
Honda Pilot30,91735,495-12.90%
Mazda CX-529,86136,891-19.10%
Honda CR-V67,71289,664-24.50%
Toyota RAV485,729116,790-26.60%
Hyundai Santa Fe23,52738,888-39.50%
Subaru Outback29,69051,903-42.80%
Toyota Highlander31,18158,562-46.80%

Auto industry outlook

Auto sales and the industry as a whole may have a slow recovery and subsequent growth period for the upcoming years following the coronavirus pandemic. Due to global production shutdowns for many of these manufacturers, supply chains and raw-material production have come to a halt and require time to be replenished.

However, some interesting trends may emerge from this pandemic. Many manufacturers are developing strategies to better reach consumers and figure out the selling process. One such example is developing more robust online selling strategies so customers can receive the same shopping experience as the in-person showroom.

Similarly, auto insurance companies must adapt to survive in this new age. Although this industry is expected to recover significantly faster than auto manufacturing, there are still hurdles to overcome. Many insurers are now facing the reality that there are no new auto buyers and having to entice returning customers. Furthermore, some are actively providing rebates due to the coronavirus pandemic.


ValuePenguin utilized information and data found in quarterly earnings files for all of the top auto manufacturers. Furthermore, we also utilized historical trend data found on