John Krafcik, chief executive officer of Hyundai’s U.S. sales unit said a prolonged U.S. government shutdown is damaging consumer confidence and may trim October new-vehicle sales by as much as 10%.
Krafcik said in an interview with Bloomberg that the standoff in Washington that began Oct. 1, leaving some government agencies closed and federal workers furloughed, is generating “anxiety” for many people.
“It’s that anxiety that keeps customers, potential buyers, on the sidelines when making a big purchase like an automobile,” he said. “We’ll probably see the industry off five to 10 percent this month, compared to where it was in September. I think a lot of it has to do with this shutdown discussion.”
Auto sales were a consistent bright spot for the U.S. economy this year until September, when fewer sales days in the month than usual led to 2013’s first decline in deliveries. The year’s final quarter, when carmakers sell off previous model year vehicles and transition to newer products, tends to be a strong sales period for the industry.
Automakers, including General Motors and Ford, said early this month that the government shutdown posed a threat to an already slow economic recovery.
Hyundai at the start of the month announced a program to allow federal workers affected by the shutdown to defer loan and lease payments to the Seoul-based automaker. Toyota Financial Services late yesterday said it too would provide “relief” on loan and lease payments for federal employees for as long as three months.
) - Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 - filed under Hyundai
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