Tough time for car sales - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tough time for car sales

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

December 12, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Car salesmen have a lot of time on their hands these day. Cars just aren't selling, in fact, they've dropped 50% at some South Georgia dealerships over the last few months.

It's no secret, people just can't afford to shell out major money for new cars right now. Salesmen at one dealership we stopped at Friday told us they've gone from selling twenty cars a week, to selling just one.

A customer on the lot at David Smith Autoland. While not as frequent a site these days, business is still steady here. "We've kind of done some things to see it coming. We don't carry as many '08 model vehicles, or one year old vehicle models as we used to, we carry the less expensive ones," said Mark Glow.  He is one of the owners at Autoland. He says they saw the writing on the wall months ago, and prepared then for a slow down.

"Our nearly new, that market has dropped off, we saw it coming." So they made changes,  choosing to sell cars with a few more years, a few more miles on them. And getting more mileage out of other programs, like rental cars and the buy here/pay here program.

"There's a lot to be said about being able to make your own decisions quickly."

But he says he doesn't see a quick turnaround for the auto industry as a whole, especially new car dealers. And he's not sure what a bailout will do.  "I don't know where it's headed."

Glow told us his sales were down about 15% over last month, but that doesn't even compare with new car dealers.  Many dealerships blame banks for their troubles, because they are having to turn more people down for car loans.

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