Local car dealers post big gains - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Local car dealers post big gains

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The March sales numbers are in for the big three automakers. Ford saw an increase of 3% for March. The company's United States Sales Chief says demand picked up in the middle of the month. The F-series trucks saw a 5% sales uptick but sales of the Ford Escape were flat. GM saw its sales numbers go up by 4%. At Chrysler, US sales jumped 13% last month. The Jeep brand saw a 47% jump, giving it its best sales month ever. The new Toledo-built Jeep Cherokee sales climbed 17%. The workhorse of the brand, the Toledo built Wrangler posted its best March sales in history.

All the dealers we spoke with outperformed the national numbers and they see that trend continuing into the spring and summer months. While Chrysler's double digit increases lead the pack, Managing Partner Denny Amrhein says the March sales numbers are even higher at Grogan's Towne,"We're up 20% in new cars and Jeep sales were up for us about 52% in March." Amrhein says the good news doesn't end there, "We're up both new and used over last year and I expect to beat our best year ever which was last year. With the first few months of 2104 now in the books, it looks like we're on target to do that."

Marianne Ballas says she's posting double digit increases at her Buick GMC dealership too,"In February our numbers were up 12% and March we were up about 10.5% year over year. A lot of it has to do with new models and creative incentives." Ballas says warmer weather should help keep that trend going,"Bad weather does keep people inside. They don't want to get a new car and then deal with salt and potholes. Weather is a huge determining factor when people purchase a new vehicle no question."

While Ford drove in a 3% increase for the month of March, General Sales Manager Rob Whitner says they more than doubled that at Brondes, "We got off to a slow start in January so there was a lot of pent up demand. Here at Brondes we were up 8% for the month of March." Whitner says a lot of that has to do with the product, "If you look at the car and truck line up we have, we could stack it up against anybody."

Analysts say overall US auto sales were up 2% in March compared to last year, which means flat first quarter sales for an industry that was getting used to bigger gains. Some experts say we are transitioning to a more mature market and double digit increases will be increasingly difficult to attain.

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