The two-week partial shutdown of the U.S. government, affecting 800,000 federal employees, has experts uncertain about how automotive sales will be affected. Ford, GM and Ram all seem to be expecting strong sales numbers for October, especially in the booming pickup truck segment, but none seem certain how the shutdown could impact consumers' future big-ticket spending decisions.
That's because the shutdown increased consumer anxiety about the overall U.S. economy, according to a story by Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays at Cars.com, and consumer confidence has not increased much since the shutdown ceased. Apparently there's no shortage of opinions about how the shutdown and overall consumer anxiety about U.S. debt ceiling debates could affect how willing customers are to spend a large amount of cash on a new vehicle.
There's also no question that government fleet contracts were put on hold, but whether that will impact how other consumer habits play out will be interesting to see. We'll know more later today (Friday) when the October sales numbers are released by all the automakers.