Tax refunds a shot in the arm to car dealers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tax refunds a shot in the arm to car dealers

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - ALBANY, GA (WALB) -   In the auto industry the news is still bleak. Sales were down for U.S. Automakers by at least 30% for a fourth month in a row. The bright spot is tax returns, which are bringing more customers onto car lots.

Help for car buyers is also being proposed in the economic recovery package. Senators voted to give a tax break to many new car buyers.

The last several months have been a lonely time for car sellers, as new car sales continue to skid. 

 "Sales have been off with all the manufacturers but, I think the key is with bringing this economy back is you've got to spend money. That's what's going to bring it back consumers loosening up," said Carl Gregory General Manager Brent Smith.

 Tax returns, however, have given many buyers a green light into Albany's used car lots, like Bill Chamber Motors. "It gives those with credit problems, they have more backbone behind their deal, so they can get it approved easier," said Billy Chambers.  

In the last two weeks Moree Motors has sold as many as 40 cars to buyers, most with tax returns in hand.  "I think some of the mindset we're getting with some of the customers this year is they're wanting to put a little more down, so the payments area little bit lower," said Moree Motors Manager Alan Dismuke.

One manufacturer is using the tough economy to improve their sales, by 14%rcent. Hyundai's assurance program is attracting buyers who may be job scared.

"Anytime within a year after you purchased a car if for any reason, you lose your job or income, you can actually bring the car back to the dealership and drop it off, and it won't hurt your credit," said Brent Smith.

Used car dealers say they're also adjusting their inventory, carrying more affordable cars. Where Bill Chambers Motors average inventory cost him $21,000 last year, this year it's down to $15,000.

Next week, China is expected to top the United States in vehicle sales. China is expected to announce sales somewhere around 790,000, while U.S. numbers have fallen to 657,000 vehicles sold in January.

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