GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – It may not be the ideal conditions to go shopping for a new vehicle, but the year-end incentives offered by dealerships are helping to make 2013 one of the best years for auto sales in a long time.
It’s the time of year when our favorite TV shows are bombarded with ads about ‘can’t miss deals’.
Some of those in West Michigan are likely coming from local Toyota Dealers. Mike Udell, the general manager at Toyota of Grand Rapids, explains why.
“Toyota has got the number one budget here in West Michigan in 2013,” said Udell. “So they have really made an investment in brand awareness in this part of the country.”
Whatever the car dealers are doing, it seems to be working.
“This is the best time of the year to come buy a car,” said Scott Baker who works at Betten Baker Chevrolet Buick. “The end of year, wrapping up everything, interest rates are phenomenal right now.”
According to Forbes magazine 15.6 million cars and light trucks were sold in the U.S. in 2013. That is highest total in the past six years.
Thomas Boyd of Coopersville just bought a white Chevy Equinox with his wife.
“I got a good deal,” he said. “We walked the lot and then we test drove a black one and like I said I she wanted a white one with a sunroof so, actually we got a better deal than I expected.”
Others are taking a less traditional approach to winter car buying according to Udell.
“The average Toyota customer spends four hours doing online research,” he said. “They are in the market swimming in the virtual showrooms for three months, so when they have a very good idea it’s up to us change the way we sell to be a lot more compatible to how they want to buy.”
This leaves a lot of the local dealers wondering what could have been had it not been as snowy a holiday season as we experienced.
“Almost 40 inches in December here man? That slows us down,” said Udell. “The snow slows us down some, the weather does.”
As for next year, auto experts are anticipating more growth. According to CNN.com the average age of cars on the road is 11 years old. Local dealerships are already gearing up for what they call, ‘need buying’ in the not to distant future.