Kelley Blue Book says that a survey it has conducted shows that new car shoppers are becoming more likely to buy a car from a bankrupt brand.

When asked how likely they would be to buy a car from a US manufacturer if the company were to go bankrupt, in-market new-car shoppers' likelihood improved in May 2009 versus April 2009.  In May, 52 percent said they were likely to buy from General Motors if GM were going through bankruptcy versus 47 percent in April.  In addition, 31 percent said they were likely to buy from Chrysler if it were going through bankruptcy in May versus 29 percent in April.

"The latest Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence data suggests that as consumers have learned more about the special circumstances of the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies, what they have found has reassured them about making such a purchase," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book and kbb.com. 

"While in April new-car shoppers didn't have much information about the bankruptcies of the two companies, by May it was much clearer that the US government would continue to offer aid to the two ailing carmakers, keeping them in operation.  This reassured enough buyers to bring a modest improvement in overall likelihood to purchase from Chrysler and GM."

The April wave of this Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence study was fielded to 298 in-market new-car shoppers on Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com from April 3-6, 2009, and the May wave was fielded to 715 in-market new-car shoppers on Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com from May 11-18, 2009.

GM's management under Rick Wagoner argued that bankruptcy would likely send sales into a tailspin as consumer confidence dissipated and therefore that filing for Chapter 11 should be avoided at all costs. However, the Obama administration's 'pre-packaged' and highly managed approach to the bankruptcies appears to have reassured some consumers - for now.