U.S. car and truck sales ended the year on a five year high with nearly 14 and half million units sold. Now, some economists say this year could be even bigger. YNN's Kevin Jolly talked with auto industry leaders here in Western New York about the forecast for the year ahead.
CLARENCE, N.Y. — "January is typically our slowest month the year, but we got off to a really good start, well ahead of last January," said Franklin Downing, Jr., president, Towne Automotive Group.
Here at Towne BMW in Clarence, Downing says despite an economy that's still struggling, things are looking up.
“Last year was not what we expected, it wasn't double digit growth again in the industry and Buffalo but it was steady growth and we're really projecting next year, this year 2013, to be double digit growth again. There are a lot of factors why we're extra optimistic this year," said Downing.
"I think the tone of business is cautious optimism," said Paul Stasiak.
Stasiak, President of the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association, agrees. He says there is a huge demand for cars in Western New York. Stasiak calls it "scrappage rate." With a record high number of older cars on the road, many of those drivers will be looking at new vehicles.
“I think the dealers are now poised, they've invested in their facilities, they've hired a lot of new people, they've made the renovations, they anticipate a decent fiscal position, people have some money and they have a need for cars," said Stasiak.
Another thing Stasiak says could have a positive impact on sales here in Western New York - Hurricane Sandy.
"It's driven the value of used cars up a little bit it's created a supply shortage in some areas in the east coast but it's affected us," said Stasiak.
That means your used car could earn you more at the dealership. Coupled with lower interest rates, Downing says it's a perfect storm for buyers.
"I think those two things with higher trade values and great incentives on new cars, creates an environment where it's a really good time to buy," said Downing.