Coronavirus to hammer U.S. auto sales

Look for the coronavirus crisis to crush car sales in the United States when most auto makers release their March results Wednesday. April could look even uglier.

TrueCar forecasts sales will drop by 37% in March and by up to 60% in April.

Cox Automotive's data showed that on March 27, new vehicle sales to consumers plunged 55% compared to the same day last year. It says that in states under "stay-at-home" orders, sales fell as much as 90%. Those included California and New York, home to a big share of the car-buying population.

The coronavirus pandemic slammed consumer confidence, closed dealerships across much of the U.S. and pushed authorities to institute social distancing guidelines - all factors that drove sales into the slow lane.

A rebound for the sector will likely depend on how long the crisis lasts and the level of government support for consumers.