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Are Gas Prices Still Scaring Car Buyers?

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40%.

Hyundai says that percentage of people in the market for a new vehicle or worried about gas prices or that factor is influencing what they choose or if they choose what to buy. Hyundai is trying to ease those concerns by running a new promotionwhere buyers of most Hyundai models join a program where they never pay more than a $1.49 a gallon for the next year. As promotions go, I think it's a smart move. It will get Hyundai in the conversation with many buyers.

But that 40% stat is one I and others in the auto industry have trouble buying. I find it hard to believe almost half the people in the market for a new car are that worried about the cost of gas. They certainly don't want to pay $3.50 a gallon, but with gas at a national average of $2.63 there are (in my opinion) simply not that many car buyers freaked about the cost of gas.

So what's driving people to buy or not buy right now? I believe the primary factor is still the economy. When I talk to dealers around the country they tell me there are more people walking showrooms, but still a reluctance to pull the trigger. I can't blame them. We've all heard the worst has passed and that things will get better in the second half. But until we see that actually happening, I think many would be car buyers are waiting.

This is the reason June's sales rate didn't surprise me. Wall Street was targeting an annual sales rate of 10 million. The research firm AutoData says the month came in at 9.69 million. Actually a decrease from May. Proof there's still a lot of apprehension in the market.

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