General Motors and Chrysler have already received a combined $17.4 billion in government loans to keep them from insolvency and bankruptcy. The argument against bankruptcy has been that nobody wants to buy a new car or truck from an automaker that might not be around to honor its warranty. A new study by CNW Research, however, shows that the mere talk of bankruptcy has been enough to scare buyers away. The study, which polled 40,000 car buyers during January and February, reveals that 12% fewer customers are interested in GM products versus a year ago. Chrysler's decline is far more steep, as 33% are no longer considering one of its products.

With GM and especially Chrysler experiencing these severe drops in consideration, other automakers have seen an increase in interest. Ford, which has been able to avoid asking for federal assistance thus far, is enjoying a 12% increase in consideration from buyers polled. Honda is faring even better with a 13% increase, but no automakers are seeing more favorable results than Hyundai and Kia. The Korean automakers have picked up share in this down market, and their consideration rating is up by 59% and 50%, respectively.

[source: Automotive News, sub. req'd | Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty]

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