Clinton Or Trump: Who Is The Better Used Car Salesman?

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With the United States presidential elections just days away, VINCheckPro has found that any impact it has had on the car market is probably felt more by automobile dealers than the consumers themselves.

Where there may be evidence of harm to the car market is at the dealer level. Local dealers spend large sums on radio and TV advertising to get potential buyers into their showrooms.

Any change in consumers buying habits would be considered self-inflicted. Voters and pundits may talk about how a candidate can help or hurt an industry but at the end of the day, people typically don't change their buying habits. When looking over the history of presidential elections in the United States, car buying and selling really hasn’t been harmed by who may occupy the White House next.

To help the auto industry following the Great Recession, the Obama administration signed into law the Car Allowance Rebate System, which provided funding for car buyers to purchase more fuel-efficient cars. The plan was to not only get less efficient cars off the road but to help stimulate the auto industry. The result was a spike in car sales, free VIN check lookups and vehicle history reports. But ultimately all it did was push people to buy a car sooner than they expected and the uptick soon fizzled. So, there can be temporary changes due to policy initiatives but looking at the market over the years there's no evidence of a presidential candidate changing car buying habits.

Moshe Ma-Yafit, director of VINCheckPro.com, said, “Where there may be evidence of harm to the car market is at the dealer level. Local dealers spend large sums on radio and TV advertising to get potential buyers into their showrooms. The harm comes when those same stations are selling air time to the various candidates, both locally and nationally. This means much more air time devoted to the elections and less air time available for dealers. This, of course, can lead to fewer new and used cars sold.“

Consumer sentiment may change depending on the candidate and who they support but researchers have found that actual spending never changes.

Using the 2000 and 2008 elections as an example, researchers reviewed credit card purchases and car sales and found no significant difference in spending in both Democrat and Republican-leaning counties.

They found that "...respondents in Republican leaning counties become relatively more pessimistic about spending after the Obama election victory at the same time they report becoming relatively more pessimistic on government economic policy."

"However, when we examine actual spending, we cannot replicate this finding. We use new auto purchases and credit card spending, and we see almost no differential effect for counties with a high 2008 Republican vote share."

What does impact consumer spending is economic fundamentals. Potential and real political change may seem like a threat to consumer spending but it just doesn’t pan out.

This election season is probably one of the most volatile in many years. But American consumers will vote and continue with their lives, making purchases they feel are relevant, including new and used cars.

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Emily R.
@vincheckpro
since: 09/2016
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