The government shutdown is eroding consumer confidence in the auto market, says John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai's US sales unit, and could lower October sales by as much as 10 percent, Automotive News reports. "It's that anxiety that keeps customers, potential buyers, on the sidelines when making a big purchase like an automobile," Krafcik says, adding that industry sales could be off by five to 10 percent in October compared to September.

The fourth quarter, which started October 1, usually consists of increased auto sales as dealerships clear their lots to make room for the next year's models. Leading up to the fourth quarter this year, the auto industry was doing well in the fragile, recovering US economy, although September deliveries decreased by 4.2 percent, due in part to this year's Labor Day sales being recorded for August.

To help its customers, Hyundai announced it is deferring new-car loan and lease payments for furloughed federal workers until they're called back to work and also offering them a three-month payment deferral if they buy a new Hyundai in October. "We have already had requests from over a thousand people to have their payments deferred," Krafcik says.

Toyota and Nissan joined Hyundai as the latest automakers to provide financial relief to customers affected by the federal employee furloughs.

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