Government Shutdown Affecting Car Sales, Hyundai's Krafcik Says. Hyundai & Toyota Offer Relief to Furloughed Federal Workers

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff

The head of Hyundai Motor Company’s U.S. sales unit, John Krafcik told the Bloomberg news agency that the continued partial shutdown of the United States government is affecting consumer confidence and may result in as much as a 10% drop in October sales. Krafcik said that the political impasse in Washington is creating “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… Industrywide, we’re definitely seeing a slowdown in October,” Krafcik said.

The final quarter of the year is usually a strong sales period as automakers discount the outgoing model year cars and early adopters embrace the newer models. Septmember sales, though, were down 4.2% overall, the first year to year drop in over two years. Some of the decline, though, is attributed to a quirk in the calender that put Labor Day sales under August’s ledger.

Krafcick echoed earlier comments from General Motors and Ford that an extended government shutdown could hamper the already less than booming economic recovery.

At the start of the month, Hyundai initiated a program that allows federal workers affected by the shutdown to defer payments on car loans and leases. “We have already had requests from over a thousand people to have their payments deferred,” Krafcik told Bloomberg Television. “That’s a much stronger uptake than we thought. It makes us happy. It means we’re making a difference, but it does give an indication of just how deep and serious the issues are.”

Late yesterday, Toyota Financial Services said that it would allow federal employees “relief” on car payments for up to three months. “The government shutdown has placed an unanticipated financial strain on many individuals and families,” Al Smith, group vice president of Toyota Financial Services, said in a statement. Hyundai has previously offered buyers a job-loss guarantee program, dubbed Assurance, that allowed them to bring back their cars if they were laid off.

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  • Threeer Threeer on Oct 16, 2013

    As one of those dadgum "excessive" gumint workers that are quite obviously leeches on American society, I'll try to leave the politics of all of this alone. But I will say this...try explaining to a foreign government (and their Air Force) why you can't provide the equipment they have paid handsomely for because your OWN government can't get their collective heads out of their behinds. For the sake of foreign relations alone, I would have MUCH preferred to be back at work at my grossly over-paid and excessive job. I'll freely admit that there is excess, and there is movement withing the DoD to shed some of that excess through early outs and yes, even talk of RIFs next year within higher commands. As for the Hyundai and Toyota offering what they are, I guess any advertising is good advertising. I'm certainly not rushing out to buy a new car simply because of this (especially in light of the fact that I am fully expecting more intermittant shutdowns in the future. Kind of stupid of me to go get a loan when I may take another pay cut. Sure, a deferment in pay means I "eventually" get my salary, but that does little good when you're facing the bills now), but it's good press to offer relief to those that did get affected by furlough...not that the millions completely out of work due to a tanked economy aren't as deserving as furloughed government workers.

  • 95_SC 95_SC on Oct 16, 2013

    When I was downrange and had pay issues (due to a civillan pay clerk not following regulation) I got no such deal. Of course I have this novel thing called a savings account which got me through until it was straight.

  • Bd2 Probably too late to do anything about it for the launch, but Kia should plan on doing an extensive refresh of the front fascia (the earlier, the better) as the design looks really ungainly.
  • Namesakeone Since I include SUVs and minivans as trucks, I really cannot think of a brand that is truly truckless. MG maybe?
  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.