The two top-selling green cars in the United States saw the greatest sales slowdown leading into the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from iSeeCars.
The study looked at 1.8 million used cars listed for sale between February 1 and March 18, 2020, and noted what percentage of a given model sold within a month of being listed. Because the study only looked at sales through March 18, it only covers the beginning of stay-at-home orders in most parts of the United States.
The Tesla Model 3 recorded the greatest sales slowdown, with a drop of 24.2% percentage points between February and March of cars selling within 30 days of being listed. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid was just behind the Model 3, with a 20.9% decrease.
The Model 3 and RAV4 Hybrid are the top-selling electric car and top-selling hybrid in the U.S. market, respectively.
The remainder of the list was mostly populated with crossovers and SUVs. The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was ranked third, followed by the Volkswagen Atlas.
2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - Best Car To Buy 2020
The Tesla Model X ranked fifth, while the non-hybrid version of the RAV4 took seventh place.
The pandemic and related economic upheaval have caused an overall decline in car sales. The average for used cars sold within 30 days of being listed dropped 9.8% between February and March, according to iSeeCars.
It's a little counterintuitive that green cars specifically might suffer the most leading into a lung-related pandemic, although conventional wisdom predicts that the current drop in gas prices could hurt sales of hybrids in the long run. Could the connection be tied to a higher awareness of science and public-health concerns (and thus people who were staying home before public warnings to do so) among those who consider vehicles with a lower environmental impact?
To alleviate some potential customer concerns while still getting its Model Y to customers quickly, Tesla recently started "touchless deliveries." Customers can unlock their cars using the Tesla app, and complete the rest of the delivery process without any human contact.
Tesla had a record first quarter for new-car deliveries, and reported building more Model Y crossovers in the first two months of production than it did during the same period of Model 3 production.
However, we're curious to see how sales track in these months of near-total lockdown in many parts of the country.