Big numbers for the Big Three - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Big numbers for the Big Three

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Not since before the recession have Americans been buying new cars and trucks at the pace that was set last month.

Ford reports its sales climbed 14%. Chrysler saw an increase of 8%. Jeep posted its best June sales since 2005. Sales of the Toledo built Wrangler were up 12%. The iconic vehicle posted its best June numbers ever. General motors saw sales jump by 6.5%. The automakers were boosted by continuing demand for big pickups.

The good news for the Big Three, obviously means good news for the local economy and dealers. Business is up for all the local dealers we spoke with and they expect sales to keep accelerating.

Marianne Ballas says Ballas Buick GMC posted a double digit sales increase in June,"Our dealership was up 16% in June compared to last June and our region for Buick and GMC was up closer to 20%. So everybody is doing well."

Analysts say low interest rates, wider credit availability and a line up of new vehicles are helping pump up sales. So far the ups and downs of the stock market, higher taxes and gas prices haven't slowed demand. Ballas says the latest models are helping offset the pain at the pump, "I think gas prices are always an issue, but with more fuel efficient vehicles, it becomes less important because it levels it out."

13 new models in Chevrolet dealerships are driving up sales. Dave White Chevrolet General Manager Joe Mehling says he expects sales to keep going up, "We think the remainder of 2013 will be stronger than the first half of the year and going into 2014 we're really excited."

One of the best sellers at Dave White is the Cruze, a vehicle with lots of ties to our region "The transmission for the Cruze is built in Toledo, the engine in Defiance and its assembled in Lordstown, so it is an all Ohio car. It's probably our number one seller right now."

One of the best sellers for Jeep is of course the Toledo built Wrangler. At Grogan's Towne, Denny Amrhein says they have a tough time keeping them on the lot,"The Wrangler hasn't changed much through the years, they dress it up a bit on the inside, but people who buy it love it!"

Amrhein says they're also banking on the new Toledo built Cherokee, "The Cherokee is going to add another 15-20% in sales for Grogan's Towne. I am not sure it will do that nationally, but it will take Chrysler up a few percentage points too, which is huge."

The 2014, Toledo built, Cherokee is expected on dealer lots in the third quarter of 2013.

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