Auto dealerships see big boost in November sales - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Auto dealerships see big boost in November sales

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Posted: Saturday, December 3, 2011 7:00 am | Updated: 10:09 am, Sun Dec 4, 2011.

The temporary tags on the backs of cars have been noticeable along East Valley roads and highways as of late.

People finally are replacing the cars and trucks they held on to during the economic slump, giving a big boost to U.S. auto sales, especially smaller-size economy cars in November, auto dealership owners and auto sales managers say.

Chrysler, Ford, Nissan and Hyundai were among the companies reporting double-digit gains from November a year ago, which is normally a lackluster month because of colder weather in the midwestern and eastern United States, and people spending their money on gifts during the holiday season.

This November, buyers were lured by good deals, improving confidence in the economy and the need to trade in older cars, auto dealership owners and sales managers say.

Thorobred Chevrolet, a 33-year-old auto dealership in Chandler, anticipates double digit sales increases in new and used vehicle sales for years to come due to continuing product quality improvements and customers' growing awareness and acceptance of the competitiveness of Chevrolet as an American product.

John Simonson, owner of Thorobred Chevrolet, said that both new and used auto sales are up for myriad of reasons.

"Lower interest rates combined with increased Chevrolet incentives for purchasing new and used vehicles has helped make vehicle purchases very affordable," Simonson said. "Thorobred Chevrolet has experienced a 20 percent year-to-date increase in total new and used vehicle sales through November 2011 from the same period in 2010. Increases in new and used vehicle sales were up 25 to 35 percent over the past few months, and this trend is expected to continue as the economy and the number of people employed improves."

The average age of vehicles on the road exceeds 10.5 years, which creates a huge pent-up demand for newer vehicles over the next few years, according to Simonson.

Industry sales rose 14 percent nationally to 994,721, according to Autodata Corp. It was also the fastest sales pace since August 2009, when the government offered big rebates for drivers to trade in their gas-guzzling clunkers for cash. U.S. sales would hit 13.6 million this year if they stayed at the same pace they did in November. That's a far better rate than the 12.6 million in the first 10 months of last year.

Paul Ballew, a former GM chief economist who now works for Nationwide Insurance, notes the level of pent-up demand is unprecedented. "Unless this recovery is derailed, vehicle sales will continue to move upward," he said.

At Earnhardt Ford, a 50-year-old dealership in Chandler, one sales manager said that although sales have been steady for them throughout the entire year, a number of things are fueling auto sales now, such as factory incentives and tax privileges for businesses.

Earnhardt Ford was the top selling Ford dealership in the Valley last month, according to statistics from the Ford Motor Co. Overall, Ford's sales rose 13 percent, fueled by the new Explorer SUV, whose sales more than tripled over last November.

"We always see a little bit of a rise in sales toward the end of the year," said Ryan Chapman, sales manager at Earnhardt Ford. "2011 is almost over, the 2012 models are out and people are trying to save a little bit of money by taking advantage of bigger rebates from the year-end clearances on the 2011s. What trade-ins we are seeing are people getting rid of their older cars."

The Associated Press contributed information to this article.

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