What has the shutdown (and near-meltdown) of the United States government wrought in its wake? Delayed unemployment reports, a belated spotlight upon the broken ACA website, and of course, apprehension among customers looking for their next car to lease or buy. But now that the cans have been kicked hard down the road… again, the showrooms are back in business as if our elected leaders hadn’t gone mad in the first place.
According to Automotive News, sales forecasts for the month of October are expected to rise 12 percent, with an estimated 15.4 million vehicles to be sold by the end of the year. The shutdown brought an end to a 27-month consecutive streak of gains as the auto industry climbed out of the Great Recession, but analysts such as Edmunds’ senior analyst Jessica Caldwell might view the bickering as a mere speed bump:
It looks like the government shutdown ended just in the nick of time. The week-by-week data suggest that consumers started to get jittery by the middle of the month. But with the government back to work, most lost sales should be made up in the latter half of the month, and the industry’s momentum will continue the pace it enjoyed before the disruption in Washington.
While things seem rosy for all those “December to Remember” big red bow tie extravaganzas to come, that new Lexus will soon come to a stop at the same cans that were just punted early in October. In a statement made by industry forecaster LMC Automotive Senior Vice President of Forecasting Jeff Schuster, though he expects annual sales to go over 16 million units in 2014, “there is a higher risk that consumer confidence could be distracted again in the first quarter if, as expected, the debt-ceiling gridlock returns.”