Saturday, October 26, 2002
Steamboat Springs John Centner of Steamboat Motors is pleased that his prediction of a year ago has not come to pass.
Centner's Ford/Dodge dealership had a record month in October 2001, selling 96 vehicles. He expressed concern at the time that once manufacturer-sponsored, zero-percent financing went away, the dealers would find everyone who might have bought a car in 2002 had already made a purchase in 2001.
"That hasn't come to fruition, I'm happy to say," Centner said. "Year over year, our numbers are up."
Centner said the high number of new car sales is fueling a buyer's market for used cars because of an overabundance of late model used vehicles.
"It has had a dramatic effect on the price of used cars," he said. "Used car prices are going
through the floor."
Scott Cook of Cook Chevrolet said in many ways he is surprised that General Motors has kept zero-percent financing in place. However, he said the fact that the nation's prime lending rate has continued to drop since last fall means it's easy for the manufacturers to afford the low financing terms.
"General Motors has enjoyed increased market share for the first time in a long time." Cook said. "The dealers are looking at the incentives on some models and wondering why. I think it's part of their drive to keep that momentum."
Cook said a big difference between 2001 and 2002 on his car lots in Craig and Steamboat has been reduced inventory.
Sales were slow in the spring of 2001 and most GM dealerships carried ample inventory through the summer and into the fall. That helped to support the buying craze last fall. This year is different.After a strong late winter and spring, the factories shut down in July to shift over to a new model year. GM dealers were left with fewer vehicles to sell.
"A year ago, we had five times the inventory we have now," Cook said. "We hope that within three weeks our inventory will return to where it was last year.
"We're looking to November to be like October last year. In a way, the factories are dictating how business is."
Both Cook and Centner say their dealerships try to present all options rebates and no-interest financing to their customers, so the customers can determine what best meets their financial situation.