Big sales numbers for local car dealers - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Big sales numbers for local car dealers

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The big three released February sales numbers on Monday. Chrysler is the only one to report an increase. Chrysler sales jumped 11% last month, mainly because of lower prices on some if its popular models. Jeep sales climbed 47%, the brand's best February ever. The new Toledo-built Jeep Cherokee is the second best selling Jeep right now and Chrysler sold more than 10,000 Wranglers.

Ford's US sales slipped 6%. The automaker says weather delayed deliveries to rental and business fleets. On the plus side, sales of Ford's F-series pickups marked the best February in eight years. GM sales dipped 1%. The top seller was the Chevy Cruze, which posted a 22% jump in sales.

So how were local sales? In spite of the bad weather, February turned out to be a good month for a lot of dealers. In fact, most of the dealers 13abc interviewed saw sales increase when comparing this February to last February. One dealer even saw sales numbers jump nearly 50%.

February wasn't just a good month at Grogan's Towne, it was a record breaker. Managing Partner Denny Amrhein says the dealership saw a 45% boost in sales compared to last February, "We had the biggest month ever in our 55 year history. We sold 396 new and used cars. I don't know what is going on but I hope it keeps going!"Amrhein says strong Ram truck, Jeep Cherokee and Wrangler sales are fueling the increase at Grogan's Towne.

At Dave White Chevrolet Greg Oehlers says a car and a crossover are driving in a lot of the sales, "We've got a lot of people buying the Cruze in the compact car segment and they're also buying the Equinox which is a small, crossover SUV. We've also gotten a big reception to the new Tahoe. Every one we've gotten in has already sold."

Some analysts were predicting an across the board slowdown in auto sales but since numbers picked up in the second half of February many say those concerns are unfounded.  At Dave White March sales numbers are already looking good, "February sales rebounded nicely. We saw an increase when comparing this February to last February and I expect to see that pent up demand move forward into March."

At Kistler Ford owner Bobby Jorgensen says leasing programs, low interest rates and big inventory have helped drive up sales numbers, "Our business was up 29% last year and even with all the snow we are on track with that this year. We have a bigger inventory and better buying and leasing programs." And business is growing at Kistler. In fact the dealership has actually outgrown its current location, "We're going to be expanding. We're going to put a new building up on some property we own across from Walmart on Central Avenue so we have more room for sales and inventory."

Inventories are the highest they've been in the last five years so obviously most automakers are trying to clear the lots. According to industry experts incentives are the highest they've been in three years, averaging just over $2,600 per vehicle. That's up more than 5% from a year ago.

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