Federal workers furloughed as a result of Washington's budget impasse could catch a bit of a break, at least if they own a Hyundai, the Korean maker offering to defer all auto loan and lease payments for owners who are, for now, out of work.
The shutdown of all but essential government offices will impact more than 800,000 federal workers. It's unclear just how many of those might now have to defer plans to buy a new car, but auto industry officials are warning the federal shutdown could have a significant impact on what had been a strong recovery of the U.S. car market—especially if the political logjam drags on for more than a short while.
(Read more: Debt default would be 'catastrophic': Bowles)
"We're all concerned," Ken Czubay, head of U.S. marketing, sales and service at Ford, said during a conference call discussion of September automotive sales. "We're going to have to evaluate how long it's going to last, and we'll take the appropriate measures depending on the length of the activity in Washington."
For his part, Czubay's counterpart at General Motors said he had "faith that the right things will be done and done quickly" to resolve the budget dispute, but Kurt McNeil, GM's vice president of U.S. sales operations warned that, "If the thing drags out a couple weeks, then ... it starts to have a bigger factor on business."