Local auto sales track with national slump | PostIndependent.com

Local auto sales track with national slump

Pete Fowlerpfowler@postindependent.comGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS Auto dealers here say their 2008 sales generally tracked with a nationwide slump.On Monday, automakers said U.S. sales dropped 18 percent to 13.2 million in 2008 due to low demand in a terrible economy. December sales marked the worst month of the year for many manufacturers.Ford saw a 21 percent drop in 2008 U.S. sales compared to 2007.Were pretty much right on that number. Were typical of what Ford nationally has done, said Jeff Carlson, president of Glenwood Springs Ford. Its an interesting thing because were actually up in cars, but where we lost shares this year was trucks.Glenwood Springs Ford was 3 percent up in car sales in 2008 but down almost 26 percent in truck sales, Carlson said. The recreational buyer or person who wanted a truck for fun no longer seemed as interested.Carlson was also the majority share holder of the local Dodge dealership that closed in November for economic reasons. He said Glenwood Springs Ford is doing well financially, in large part due to record-setting parts and service business.The Ford store is very strong financially, Carlson said. It was actually the bank for the Chrysler store.Toyota vehicle sales dropped about 16 percent in the U.S. in 2008. The company said Tuesday that its suspending production at all 12 of its Japan plants for 11 days in February and March.

“We are coping with a slump in global sales, said Toyota spokesman Hideaki Homma. Demand in the world auto market is so depressed that every model is falling sharply in sales.Steve Zeder, general manager of the local Bighorn Toyota, said exact figures werent yet complete, but the national figure sounds comparable to sales here.Weve slowed compared to last year, primarily in the last quarter, he said. Its tough to compare it to 2007, though. That was a record-breaking year. GM sales in the U.S. dipped 23 percent last year from 2007 figures, and Chrysler dropped 30 percent. Don Gerbaz, owner of Berthod Motors, said totals werent yet complete, but Berthods sales of the two manufacturers vehicles are probably going to be similar to the national figures. He also observed a decline in truck sales.Weve seen a lot of things quiet down around here, he said. A lot of building projects arent happening, contractors are laying people off, so theres less need for work truck vehicles.The president of the Vista Auto Group couldnt be immediately reached. Vista sells Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan and Subaru. After buying and demolishing the Budget Host and 1st Choice Inns last year for millions of dollars, Vista scrapped plans to build new dealerships there. The properties were put up for sale, and Vista plans to move its existing dealerships into other facilities.The Roaring Fork Volvo dealership in Glenwood Springs also closed in September.The Associated Press contributed to this story.Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121pfowler@postindependent.com

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