Although Democrats and Republicans have agreed to end their debate over the budget deficit, which prompted the Federal government shutdown, according to the chairman of the National Auto Dealers Association new car sales could still drop sharply this month.
David Westcott, NADA’s current chairman, said he wasn’t ready to dispute the forecast by John Krafcik, president of Hyundai Motor America, who said he believed sales could fall by as much as 10%. General Motors and Ford also have expressed concern about the potential impact of the shutdown both on October sales, and on consumer confidence over all.
Westcott was in Detroit to meet with members of the Automotive Press Association where he discussed not only the impact of Washington’s political crisis but also about the growing challenges to the nation’s century-old dealer franchise system.
On the one sense, 2013 has been a good year overall for U.S. car dealers. The domestic car market has sharply exceeded original sales forecast for the year, but that’s actually created some unusual problems. Westcott, himself a dealer in North Carolina, is like many other retailers who have been facing problems getting a steady supply of some of the more popular products in recent months.
Like many retailers, there has been concern that the boom won’t last. Westcott cautioned that, “The economy is very fragile.” But he said he doubted the government shutdown, which started October 1 and had idled more than a 1 million government workers and contractors for 16 days will have any long-term impact. “This will pass,” Westcott said.
Critics of the franchise system have been using stereotypes to attack the dealer system – but despite long-lived stereotypes, U.S. auto dealers, on the whole, now have very high customer satisfaction numbers and clearly benefits consumers, argued Westcott, who operates and owns a Buick GMC dealership in Burlington, North Carolina.
Via The Detroit Bureau
by Aurel Niculescu
) - Friday, October 18th, 2013 - filed under Industry
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