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Report: Car Buyers Come Back After ‘Shutdown’

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October 29, 2013 by   Leave a Comment

The federal government shutdown kept some would-be car shoppers away from dealerships in the first half of October, but forecasters still expect U.S. auto sales to rise at least 12% this month.

Automotive News reported that the debt ceiling battle in Congress dinged consumer confidence and added to concerns lingering from September, when the industry broke a 27-month streak of consecutive gains.

Some dealers near Washington said last week that traffic still had not rebounded since the government resumed full operations Oct. 17, while others said they saw few effects from the 16-day shutdown.

“Whatever the reason, for us it’s trending to be one of the better months of the year,” said Jim Bone, dealer principal at Nissan Santa Rosa, 50 miles north of San Francisco. But Bone said business at his adjacent Kia store has been “off significantly” in October.

Forecasts call for October sales to be about 7% higher than in September, despite recent warnings by several auto executives that the shutdown could cause sales to fall this month. Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik said Oct. 15 that demand could be 5% to 10% lower than in September.

Analysts from LMC Automotive, Kelley Blue Book and Barclays Capital said they think the industry’s seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate would climb to an estimated 15.4 million, from 15.3 million last month and 14.4 million in October 2012. Edmunds.com is forecasting a 13% increase and a SAAR of 15.5 million.

Automakers are scheduled to report October sales on Friday.

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