The volatile market and media dry up dealership traffic

I look at my bank account, smile and think I’m doing OK.

Then I watch the gloom-and-doom daily news programs or hear the market is crashing. I’m suddenly considering hiding money under a mattress. This idea of feeling fiscally fearful despite evidence to the contrary echoes beyond my walls. It has seeped into U.S. dealerships.

Last week, many dealers knew the stock market had plummeted just by looking around their showrooms.

“It put what I call the person who could afford to come in and buy a $40,000 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew, on the sidelines saying, ‘Oh, I don’t think so right now,’” a Ford-Lincoln dealer says. “It’s a short-term thing. Friday was a great day and Saturday was a great day. But it did dry things up in my showroom for a couple of days.”

Another dealer says he has loyal customers who need -- and can afford -- new vehicles, but are holding out. He blames their reluctance on a false fear of financial chaos.

He could be right. I heard a media pundit the other day say most Americans are financially well-off right now, yet acting fiscally cautious anyway.

The pundit says that’s because the resounding message among the other pundits is: “Prepare for impact.”

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