March 11 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley said it expects the coronavirus outbreak will send U.S. auto sales down 9% this year, in an investor note on Wednesday morning.
Automakers are due to report first-quarter sales in early April.
Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas wrote that “demand shock” triggered by the spread of the virus in the United States could cause consumers to delay large purchases such as new cars.
He predicted U.S. sales could drop to 15.5 million, from 17.1 million in 2019.
In mid-day trade, General Motors Co shares were down 3.5% and Ford Motor Co shares fell 2.9%.
The National Automobile Dealers Association in early January had predicted a slight dip in 2020 sales to 16.8 million.
In his note, Jonas said coronavirus fears could have a ripple effect on used car sales and on consumer credit.
Morgan Stanley maintains its forecast of 16.0 million for 2021.
Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit Editing by Marguerita Choy