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Survey: Consumers in market to buy cars

Automotive sales: Rosy outlook confirms local dealers’ improved sales

Posted: December 24, 2010 4:42 p.m.
Updated: December 25, 2010 4:55 a.m.

In this recent photo, special deals on used vehicles, like the sale price on this 2005 Ford Freestyle at Power Ford Valencia, can be seen along Creekside Road in Valencia.

 

More than 83 percent of those questioned said they would be in the market for a vehicle within the next 12 months, according to a survey released this week.

Almost 44 percent of responders said they were in the market now, while 22 percent said they would be in the market six months from now, according to the survey conducted by Autobytel Inc.

Sixteen percent of those surveyed said they would be in the market within the next six to 12 months.

The survey also revealed that nearly 60 percent of the responders said they had put off purchasing or leasing a used or new car in the past because of the economic climate.

Autobytel was founded in 1995. One of the first car-buying websites, its goal was to provide automotive consumers with the tools and information they need to make well-informed vehicle purchasing and ownership decisions.

The company reports that it has helped millions of car shoppers and generated billions of dollars in car sales for dealers.
“It’s great news for our member dealers and (original equipment manufacturers) partners that such a wide majority of consumers are considering purchasing a new or used vehicle in the next year,” said Jeff Coats, president and CEO of Autobytel.

Local sales up
In an earlier Signal article, Santa Clarita automotive dealers said trends showed sales were steadily increasing, reflecting the sentiments of those surveyed in the vehicle purchase survey.

All of the local dealers interviewed for the story reported an increase in year-over-year sales.

The local Nissan dealership reported sales last month were up nearly 41 percent from a year ago. Acura reported that sales were up 24 percent from last year.

New car sales at the Mercedes-Benz dealership were up 39 percent, and used car sales rose 10 percent. Sales at the Ford dealership had been strong, and it predicted continued growth for its product in 2011.

According to the “Southland Auto Outlook,” released by the Southland Motor Car Dealers Association in October, sales were up for nearly every manufacturer in the Los Angeles County market, with many of those vehicle brands represented by local dealers.

One industry association projected an improvement in sales of at least 15 percent for 2011.

Purchasing motivation
When survey respondents were asked what was motivating their decision to purchase a vehicle, the majority of respondents, 55 percent, reported that they wanted to purchase or lease a car out of necessity or to achieve greater cost-efficiency.

Many local dealers commented that pent-up demand seems to be a factor motivating many purchasing decisions of late.
Autobytel’s survey also found that 20 percent of consumers were interested in purchasing a newer or better style or model of car.

“Even though consumer confidence in the economy has not improved significantly,” Coats said, “our survey indicates that the majority of consumers think this buying trend will continue well into 2011.”

Regardless of the motivation, no one argues against the fact that vehicle sales at local dealerships benefit the local economy.

Local dealers generated nearly $63.4 million in total tax revenue for the state, county and city of Santa Clarita through November.

Of that sales tax amount, Santa Clarita received 1 percent to feed the general fund.

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