What are your auto sales expectations for 2003? What effect, if any, have zero percent financing and other incentives had on those expectations?

District Voices

Published March 1, 2003  | March 2003 issue

District Voices Logo

We're hoping for a 20 percent to 30 percent increase over last year. Last year was bad. We were down 30 percent from our average year. The zero financing has made new cars sell better, but it's hurt the used car market considerably. The market is flooded with used car trade-ins. Zero financing has hurt our finances because it cuts out the middleman. We do what the manufacturer wants. But at least this year is off to a good start.
Lance Hawkins, General Manger
M.J. McGuire Co. Ford and Chrysler-Dodge—Rugby, N.D.
New and used car dealer

I think they're going to pick up this year. I've reduced prices by about 7 percent to pick up sales. We offer no special financing, strictly sales. I think 2003 will be better. Our biggest employer, Mead, the paper company, signed a six-year contract renewing about 2,000 employees. We're hoping that'll help sell more cars.
Jim Walch, Owner
J & K Auto Sales—Escanaba, Mich.
Used car dealer

Our local economy is finally coming back. People are getting more confidence. Financing incentives have been around for a while. If the manufacturers removed them, it would have a negative impact. We have a lot of new products coming, which are driving forces. We are sold-out of two new Nissans for the next two to three months. Chrysler has a new vehicle, and we're certain that will sell the same. We took our worst hit last year. January was pretty good, better than usual. We'll definitely have a better 2003. We're predicting about 20 percent more new car sales in 2003. We are also adding 10 to 20 more employees to an existing staff of 80 in order to staff a new adjoining facility because of the new models Nissan is producing.
Mike Keil, General Manager
Bothun Nissan, Buick, Lincoln-Mercury and Chrysler-Dodge
Eau Claire, Wis.
New car dealer

We're in a good spot. For new GM cars we're expecting a 23 percent sales increase and a 21 percent increase for new Toyotas. GM passenger cars have extended their zero percent financing for 60 days. Incentives boost day-to-day sales but steal from future buyers. They're not necessarily creating new buyers, but they force people to buy earlier than planned. People are trading in cars and trucks to reduce their interest rate. Incentives always stir the market.
Bill Hodson, General Manager
Sharp Chevrolet Pontiac Cadillac and Toyota—Watertown, S.D.
New car dealer

I think we're going to hit $13 million in sales this year. Last year we had $11.2 million. I think the [auto] market's flattened out because consumers are expecting incentives. ... I don't foresee a drop in manufacturer incentives right now. I think the war is going to cause some ups and downs. It just makes people typically conservative.
Greg Scarff, Owner
Scarff Buick, Pontiac and GMC—Kalispell, Mont.
New car dealer

We expect a better year than the past two. 2001 was a record year, and in 2002 we were 1 percent ahead of 2001. For 2003 we expect a 1 percent to 2 percent increase over last year. For now, I don't think Toyota feels they can back off [incentives] to remain competitive. I think all the manufacturers are going to fall in line with these incentives for a long time. I think they're creating a monster. They're not going to be able to keep buying down these rates. When rates start to go up, the manufacturers aren't going to be able to afford it.
Jim Coopet, Sales Manager
Maplewood Toyota—Maplewood, Minn.
New car dealer