For the first time in six years, Timothy Keeney of Ashtabula bought a new car, a 2013 Chevy Equinox.
And Keeney isn’t alone.
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all reported double-digit percentage increases in sales for August, which was the best month for car sales since the pre-recession days in 2007.
Overall sales are now at 16 million, up from 14.5 million during the same period last year. Analysts have said they expect the trend to continue.
“We got a new car because we needed some good reliable transportation,” Keeney said. “Better than our old car was.”
Area dealers said costs are down and some cars can be purchased by paying $200 per month. All kinds of cars, from small cars to trucks, are selling.
Chrysler dealer Chuck Eddy said demand is high now and they are seeing new customers.
“At times we can all run a little low on inventory and the manufacturers are peddling really fast,” Eddy said. “Chrysler had every plant running all summer long. No summer downtime and three shifts at most plants. That’s just to keep up pace, not including model changeover and the new products coming out.”
GM also canceled a planned shutdown at Lordstown last month. Part of the problem is the number of older vehicles still on the road.
“That cycle, the life cycle of a car is usually about seven to eight years and we are running 13,” Eddy said. “And it shouldn’t be 13.”
At Austintown Auto Sales, owner Doug Jones said he hasn’t seen the same increase of pre-owned vehicles but said it’s a buyer’s market for used cars.
“I think in order to keep your cars turning and moving and be out in the market place so that people are aware of you,” Jones said. “You have to take a lesser profit. You got to work harder because you are selling more cars but you’re taking a lesser profit.”