Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY
With four days left in the month, auto dealers can apparently let out a few sighs of relief.
Auto buyers have apparently shrugged off the government shutdown and gone back to helping to make 2013 a banner year for the auto industry, two forecasts of October auto sales suggest.
Kelley Blue Book predicts an 8% rise in auto sales in October compared to the same month last year. Edmunds.com is even more optimistic, predicting an increase of 12.7% over the same period.
KBB says sales were certainly slow during the first two weeks of the month in Atlantic coastal region that has the country's highest concentration of government workers. Sales there fell more than 6% during the first two weeks, but came roaring back after the shutdown ended.
Edmunds says if the shutdown had dragged on longer, it could have crippled the momentum of auto sales for the year, one of the U.S. economy's brightest spots.
"It looks like the government shutdown ended just in the nick of time," says Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell, in a statement. "The week-by-week data suggests that consumers started to get jittery by the middle of the month. But with the government back to work, most lost sales should be made up in the latter half of the month."