Pre-Owned Sales are UP

More buyers getting used: Pre-owned car sales increasing

Taylor Pingatore of Port Huron looks at used cars Monday at Michaels Car Center in Fort Gratiot.

gannett.com – Written by – CRYSTAL GARCIA

Rick French noticed a lot of shoppers when he was looking for a used car.

“There was quite a few walking around the lot,” the Marysville resident said. “There always seemed to be somebody in their showroom or offices when I was there.”

Following a national trend, local dealers are reporting high demand for used cars.

Michael Guizar, owner of Michaels Car Centers in Port Huron and Kimball Township, said business was up 60% this April from last April.

Therese Pingatore talks about her vehicle needs with salesman Jac Houel as she sits in a truck for sale Monday at Michaels Car Center in Fort Gratiot.

Therese Pingatore talks about her vehicle needs with salesman Jac Houel as she sits in a truck for sale Monday at Michaels Car Center in Fort Gratiot.

There’s a flip side, however, to the robust used car market: With new car production decreasing, fewer people leasing and Cash for Clunkers taking about 700,000 cars out of the used car market, dealers say maintaining adequate supply is becoming difficult, leaving buyers with fewer choices.

“We have to hunt harder and visit more sites that have cars available to us,” Guizar said.

When it came to choosing a used car for French, he went to Michaels Car Center and found a 2008 Dodge Durango. He said price was the main reason he selected a used car instead of a new car.

Charlie Barrett, co-owner of Cawood Auto in Port Huron, said price is a big factor for shoppers.

“I think people are just trying to get the best value they can for their dollar,” he said. “People are very payment-conscious, and sometimes a used car can be smaller monthly payments.”

Finding a good value could be hard, however, as low supply and high demand are driving up prices.

Used car prices have increased as much as 20% since falling in 2009 and 2010, according to Kelley Blue Book.

But price increases, dealers said, are offset to some extent because buyers are getting a better trade-in value for their used cars.

“It’s a good time to buy right now,” said Steve Grates, general manager at Bill MacDonald Ford Used Car Center in St. Clair.

He said the dealership is pursuing people actively
for trade-ins by sending mailings to their former customers.

Guizar also said banks are starting to finance more than they have in the last couple of years.

“That’s helped a lot,” he said.

Contact Crystal Garcia at (810) 989-6276 or cagarcia@gannett.com

 

 

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