New, used car sales increased in 2010Written by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
New car sales increased by 5 percent and used car sales by 6 percent in Lucas County in 2010 versus 2009, according to the number of titles recorded by the County Clerk of Courts.
“We hit rock bottom in 2009 but car sales rebounded in 2010. Hopefully, things are going to continue to improve here,” said Bernie Quilter, Lucas County Clerk of Courts.
New cars sold in 2010 numbered 20,003 compared to 18,997 in 2009. Used cars sold by dealers increased to 32,767 in 2010 from 30,757 in 2009. Used cars sold by private owners remained steady with about 51,580 sold in both years.
Some local dealerships experienced even larger increases in new and used car sales in 2010 than the county’s numbers.
At Ballas Buick GMC, new car sales increased by 40 percent and used car sales by 27 percent in 2010 versus 2009. The best-selling models included Buick LaCrosse and Regal, the GMC Terrain and Acadia, according to Marianne Ballas, owner of the dealership.
Ballas looks forward to selling the new Verano luxury compact sedan introduced at the International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 10 and the Regal Grand Sport that will be available later this year.
Ballas may be the dean of local car dealers as she celebrates her 40th year in the auto business this year. She has worked in the Ballas dealership since 1971 and has run it since the death of her husband George in 2002.
Brondes Ford experienced a 20 percent increase in new car sales in 2010 versus 2009, making it the No. 1 Ford dealer in Northwest Ohio, said Rob Whitner, general sales manager of the dealership.
The best-selling models included the Ford Fusion, Escape and F-150 pickup. Half of its car sales are to customers in Michigan and not reflected in the number of titles issued in Lucas County, he said.
“We recruit the top Ford sales people at Brondes, who are attentive and kind to their customers. We work hard to make it a great experience. Our customer service index numbers are off the charts as a result of those efforts,” Whitner said.
Grogan Towne Chrysler Dodge Jeep experienced strong new and used cars sales since last March, finishing 2010 with increases of 21 percent in new car sales and 28 percent in used car sales versus 2009, reported Denny Amrhein, managing partner of the dealership.
Amrhein said Grogan bought the Dodge brand from Vin Devers in 2009 and were awarded the Jeep brand in 2010, which took the dealership from a single Chrysler brand to three brands. Grogan also owns and operates Charlie’s Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Maumee.
“Last year was great for car dealers after two years of going through hell,” Amrhein said. “We’re looking forward to the introduction of the new Chrysler 300, Charger and Durango models with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee this year.”
Amrhein may challenge Marianne Ballas for dean of local car dealers. He said he started at the former Pappenhagen Olds dealership in 1970.
Rob Brown reported that the Brown dealerships experienced an 11 percent increase in sales in 2010 versus 2009, despite losing the Pontiac brand last year. Sales of Honda, Hyundai and Mazda models with the addition of Mitsubishi and Isuzu trucks in 2010 helped to make up for the loss of Pontiac, he said.
“I’m very optimistic as we’re seeing a gradual increase in sales and expect it to continue over the next few years. The manufacturers are producing the right amount of cars for the market now and more people are feeling good about the economy and buying cars,” Brown said.
Tom Schmidt, president of the Ed Schmidt Auto Group, said that new and used car sales were substantially better in 2010 than the two previous years for their dealerships. The Schmidt dealerships in Maumee and Perrysburg sell Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Jeep, Saab, Volvo and Volkswagen brands.
Schmidt said the feeling was better in Toledo overall in 2010 and it was reflected in more people buying new and used cars.
Dave Wittenmyer, general manager of Jim White Toyota Scion, said it had a good year in 2010 with a 9 percent increase in sales overall and 14 percent for Scion. He reported that all Toyota and Scion models including the hybrids sold well in 2010.
“We’re recovering from all the recalls and looking for double digit increases this year,” Wittenmyer said.
All the local dealers interviewed expressed continued optimism for car sales in 2011.