DETROIT — New car sales fell 7.5% in mid-October, compared to the same period a year ago, the seven major domestic auto manufacturers reported Friday, and analysts predicted that sales may drop further.
With the week's major drop in the stock market and with the end of many incentive programs, "weak sales are expected," said Theodore Sullivan, an automotive analyst with Wharton Econometrics.
"Regarding the recent stock market activity, we think that it is going to have a depressing effect on consumer sentiment," he said. As of now, he said, "We also think that the stock market is going to stabilize" and "will have only about a month's impact on auto sales."
Most auto buyers do not own stock, he noted, adding that uncertainty in the stock market is more likely to affect luxury car sales. "I would think that Chrysler, which is concentrated in the low end of the car market, shouldn't be too affected (by stock market volatility.) General Motors is more vulnerable and Ford is in between."