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Dealers Mixed on Buyer Reaction to Stock Market With AM-Stocks-Markets Bjt

October 21, 1987

DETROIT (AP) _ Auto dealers reported mixed showroom reactions to the wild fluctuations in the stock market, and some said Wednesday they feared already slow October sales could come to a near standstill if buyers stayed worried.

″Before the drastic changes earlier this week, we saw a slow-down over the last two- or three-week period. Floor traffic ... has definitely slowed down this month,″ said John Isler, general manager of Bergen Volvo in Upper Saddle River, N.J.

″I think it’s the uncertainty″ created by the war in the Persian Gulf and other factors as well as the stock market swings, ″rather than actual loss of money in the market,″ Isler said.

Martin L. Swig, president of the San Francisco Autocenter, said he hadn’t noticed a difference in showroom traffic or in customers’ attitudes. His dealership sells a large variety of nameplates ranging in price from Hyundai to Rolls-Royce and Bentley.

″We can’t imagine that the stock market problems could help the car business, so the only question is how much it could hurt. We haven’t been able to identify any different trend so far,″ Swig said.

Ed DiBenedetto, a Buick, Saab and Peugeot dealer in Queens, N.Y., said sales have been slow all month.

″Five or six years ago, we could base our business on what the stock market did. If it went up, sales of new cars went up and when it went down, the sales of new cars did,″ Di Benedetto said. ″But the last five or six years it has not shown the same cause-and-effect relationship.″

He said sales were affected far more by the Sept. 30 end of the latest round of buyer incentives, such as rebates and low loan rates, that he said have disrupted normal seasonal sales peaks and valleys in the last few years.

″This October has been very slow. I really think it’s people waiting for some kind of (incentive) program,″ DiBenedetto said.

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