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When Will The Auto Buyer Start Buying?

You know what I've heard a lot this week? Auto sales will stay weak through 2010. This has me wondering where the buyer has gone, and why some are convinced the buyer won't come around anytime soon.

Let's be honest, what started with people driving less because of high gas prices has carried over to people deciding the are reluctant to take on a monthly car payment. In this economy, I can't blame them. Doesn't matter how sweet the deal is, if you aren't comfortable with your monthly finances, you won't sign up for more debt if you can avoid it.

But when did people start to buy into the idea auto sales will stay weak for the next 2 years? When I've brought this up to people who track sales in the industry, almost everyone says it's too hard to tell what might happen beyond next year. Sounds to me like it's the fear of a struggling economy that's driving the pessimism about sales.

A few weeks ago I asked how many of you are in the market for a new or used carand how many of you are putting it off. The vast majority said they are delaying buying a car right now, but hope to in the next year.

My gut says that type of pent up demand will fuel a rebound, however modest, in auto sales by the end of 2009. I could be wrong, but then again, my guess is no less. Reliable at this point than the gloom others are currently forecasting.

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- Ford Motor

- General Motors

- Nissan

- Honda Motor

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Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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