Auto Makers Worried Over Sustaining Sales during Shutdown

Automakers reported strong sales for September that were on pace to set the best annual sales since 2007. However,  a collective shiver ran through the entire industry when it contemplated what impact a prolonged governmental shutdown could have on the traffic entering auto showrooms across the nation.

Deliveries dropped 4.2% for the first decline in over two years, as a calendar quirk pushed the Labor Day results into Augusts’ totals.

The annualized rate of sales, adjusted for factors of the season and the shortened month, were up to 15.3 million, slower than the pace for August. Auto executives have said the still fragile recovery cannot take a great deal of uncertainty.

On this type of thing both Ford and GM agreed. If the uncertainty over the length of the shutdown drags on for a few weeks, it will impact  customer sentiment even more and that in turn will start to have a larger impact on business, said an executive from GM.

There was another shutdown in 1995, but today consumers have become much more skittish as the current economy continues it struggle to move from first gear into second.

Chrysler Group and Ford each were higher than estimates of analysts for a slow month. Sales at Ford were up 5.7% , while those at Chrysler, which is owned in the majority by Fiat, were up 0.7%, which gave them 42 consecutive months of sales gains.

Most of the other large automakers saw deliveries fall more than what had been predicted by analysts. The light vehicles pace of sales were less than the 15.4 million predicted by analysts.