The Herald Bulletin

March 27, 2012

Auto dealers seeing increase in sales

By Margaret Maynard
For The Herald Bulletin

— Overall auto sales have been climbing in the U.S., and it’s just as true in Madison County, where many dealerships have seen consumer demand on the increase.

According to Aaron Rhodes, sales and marketing director at Ford Autoworld and Myers Autoworld, both on North Broadway in Anderson, sales have steadily increased annually for quite some time at both locations.

“One of the most popular and best-selling vehicles at Ford Autoworld has been the Ford F-150, Motor Trend’s 2011 Truck of the Year,” said Rhodes.

On the Ford side of the business, the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Ford Focus have been top sellers, according to Rhodes. Other auto dealers are also seeing an increase in sales.

“We experienced moderate growth in 2011, up about 200 cars, new and used in March 2011 as compared to March of the previous year,” said Derek Manis, general manager at Ed Martin Toyota. “We sold more new than used. We do most of our comparisons month to month. As many dealerships closed, we were fortunate to be able to keep our sales about the same.”

World events made some auto sales difficult.

“Due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, several factories were taken out, resulting in a very challenging year for Honda and many other auto dealers in 2011, due to no inventory coming in,” said Bill Richardson, general manager of Tom Wood Honda Sales and Service. “We were fortunate to have pre-owned vehicles to supplement our business. Even though challenging and a lot of work, we had a 130 percent increase in new and used sales during 2011, compared with 2010.”

Myers Autoworld has some top General Motors sellers as well, such as the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, said Rhodes.

“A new compact car came out in 2011, the Buick Verano, which is expected to see increased sales in the coming year of 2012. It also appeals to a wider range of drivers with its sleek styling.

“I think the reason that we are at a 37 percent increase in sales and are outpacing the national averages in sales, is because of our repeat and referral business,” said Rhodes.

Other factors might be contributing to the increase in auto sales.

“Partly what everyone is experiencing now is that pent-up consumer demand is letting go,” said Manis.

To help with demand, Ed Martin is building two new showrooms, one for its Chrysler brands is scheduled to open in April, said Chevrolet new-car manager Brad Latinovich. The other, for Chevrolet and Cadillac brands, will open in mid-summer.