Gas price parks pick-ups - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gas price parks pick-ups

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

July 29, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Pickup trucks no longer rule in auto sales in South Georgia and it's because of gas prices.

More people are opting for fuel efficient cars rather than gas guzzling trucks, and for the first time in many years, one longtime Albany dealer sold more cars than trucks last month. 

Wallace Chevrolet General Manager Buddy Carver said it was the "First time in our history."

And gas prices the reason, for the first time, Wallace Chevrolet sold more small cars than pickup trucks.

 Carver said "Our car business, we've see a tremendous increase.  Our fuel efficient models, the Malibu, the Aveo, the Cobalt. We've virtually sold out of those models."

Bill Chambers Motors has been in  business for 57 years in South Georgia. "We've always sold more pickup trucks than anything else," Vice President Billy Chambers said.

Until this year, Chambers usually sold about 70 percent pickup trucks, and 30 percent cars.  But in 2008, fuel efficient cars are half of their sales now.

"It is gas mileage, gas mileage," Chambers said.

Chambers said they are still selling pickup trucks.  With the price of trucks falling, and small car prices rising with demand, Chambers said many customers are weighing the entire package along with gas mileage.

"If they can get a good deal on a full size SUV or full size truck, three or four, or seven miles a gallon gas mileage, they are going to justify it," Chambers said.

Wallace Chevrolet has seen some people trading in Suburbans and trucks for smaller cars with better gas mileage, but Carver says big families and businesses still have to have that big vehicle, no matter what gas prices are. 

Dealers say in the past, car shoppers asked a bout safety features and warranties. Now, they say, the number one question is about gas mileage.

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