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Local News

May 3, 2013

Area car dealers see 'pent-up demand'

An aging fleet, improving consumer confidence and better product lines were cited by local auto dealers Thursday to explain a big jump in sales nationwide for April.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand,” said Tom Armao of Country Club Motors, which sells Chevrolets, Cadillacs and GMC trucks.

Armao cited the aging U.S. car fleet as a driver for that pent-up demand.

The average car on the road right now is 11.2 years old, and Armao said that just a few years ago, the average age was 7 or 8 years old.

Ford, GM, Chrysler and Nissan all reported double-digit U.S. sales increases last month, with truck sales leading the way. Ford’s sales increased 18 percent, with its F-Series pickup line gaining 24 percent.

Patrick Coleman, sales manager for Oneonta Ford, said his sales were up.

“We did see an increase of traffic, an increase in business,” he said, but he was reluctant to speculate about why. “To really pinpoint as to one reason why, I really couldn’t.”

At Chrysler, sales rose 11 percent, led by the Ram pickup, with a 49 percent sales increase. Mark Zimmerman of Royal Chrysler in Oneonta said the the increase was broad-based as that dealership.

“I would say evenly across the board we’re up,” he said. “Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and our used cars. Everything is just up.”

Zimmerman said the dealership hadn’t had a March or April nearly as good as this year’s since 2007 and 2008, respectively. He said that if he knew for sure why those months were so good, “I would try to duplicate that recipe for the month of May.”

“They’re not tire-kickers,” he said of recent buyers. “They’re coming out to buy a car. They know they want a car. They’re gonna buy a car.”

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