December 18, 2008

Recession has cooled demand for autos

Pent up demand for automobiles may be building, a survey of U.S. consumers found.

In the past six months, 24 percent of U.S. adults considered buying a new car, but then decided not to, the Gallup Poll reported Thursday.

The worsening economy was the primary reason those considering a car purchase decided against it, the survey found.

Only 27 percent of respondents indicated the plight of U.S. automakers was a major factor in their decision to delay buying a vehicle, Gallup said. Twenty-two percent said it was a minor factor in their decision.

Respondents also indicated that the potential for a U.S. carmaker to go bankrupt was not a major influence. Only 7 percent said a possible bankruptcy would be a strong factor in their decision to steer away from a U.S. product and choose a foreign brand.

Eighteen percent of respondents said a bankruptcy would make them somewhat less willing to buy a domestic brand, Gallup said.

The Dec. 12-14 survey results were based on 1,008 telephone interviews and carried a sampling error of three percentage points.