Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Metro Auto Sales Rise 15.3 Percent

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Metro Auto Sales Rise 15.3 Percent

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Led by an increasingly strong demand for new light-duty trucks, vehicle sales for metropolitan franchised auto dealers zoomed in May, according to trade association figures released Thursday.

Sales increases were not confined to new light-duty trucks, however. Sales were up in all categories from May 1992 and from April, figures from the Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association show.

There was a total of 9,260 new and used cars and light-duty trucks sold by the 54 association members in May, up 15.3 percent from the 8,026 sold in May 1992 and up 6.2 percent from the 8,719 sold in April.

"Business is good," said Bill Roby, the association's executive director. "But right now, trucks seem to be going even better.

"I've talked with a lot of light-duty truck dealers, and 25 of our association members sell pickups and vans, and they tell me the demand for the extended cab pickup is continually growing.

"Apparently buyers like the extended cab because they have room for more people, with the two fold-down back seats and a place to put your golf clubs.

"Custom van sales also are going good."

A couple of other changes in buyers' habits also appear to be good for the local auto retailers, Roby said.

First is the change in program cars, the nearly new cars returned to the factory from the daily rental fleet, special factory executive cars and fleet returns, he said.

"It used to be that these program cars turned over fairly soon; people would get a few thousand miles and turn them in for new ones," he said. "Dealers had the opportunity to sell these for less than a new car. Even though they have a few thousand miles on them, they appeal to the new car buyer.

"Traditionally, we've said that people who just can't find the finances to buy a new car will quickly switch to a program car, which we always felt was competition for the new car buyer.

"Now, these program cars have more miles on them and they are still attractive to a lot of buyers, and dealers are still featuring them in their ads. But I think this is doing nothing more than creating more interest in new cars, that the push for program cars is helping both the new and used market. …

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