Local Car Dealerships Surviving Rollercoaster Market
Natural Disasters, Political Conflicts Fuel Consumer Confidence Obstacles
Natural disasters and rising gas prices continue to show us just how fragile the market for car sales is. As dealerships continue to recover from the recession, they are constantly facing additional challenges.
In western Colorado, car dealers have long focused on selling trucks and sport utility vehicles, but now they are seeing a shift. "The Chevy Cruze is probably one of the more popular ones right now," General Manager Mike Miller of Grand Junction's Ed Bozarth Chevrolet said. "It gets up in the range of 42 to 44 miles a gallon."
The pain at the pump seems to be a driving force for new car owners. "We're starting to see pickups, larger pickups, diesels traded in on more fuel efficient cars."
At the same time, the new trucks and SUVs are staying on the lot longer. Still though, overall car sales at the dealership are up 20% over last year. But that number is down considerably from five years ago. "My service department is very, very busy," he explained. "So there's a negative and a positive to both sides."
Car sales are also being affected by natural disasters from across the world. The earthquake in Japan halted the production of some newer vehicles which has paved the way for an explosion in used car sales. "Used car prices are up and their demand is, too," Miller said. "Our sales up, as well."
But, Mother Nature has a far-reaching effect. Bad weather in the Grand Junction area is also hampering sales. "If we could keep the rain out of the Grand Valley, we should be in good shape."
Experts say used car prices should spike this summer. But, if you can't wait that long to buy, they advise that you shop around.
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