YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Of the 104 auto dealers selling new vehicles and reporting to the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers Association, which includes the Youngstown area, 73% were down last year compared with 2021. Used car dealers were a bit better at 62%.
Some dealers who spoke to WKBN 27 First News said it really wasn’t all that bad.
Despite having new car sales down 8.5% and used car sales down 4.5%, Greg Greenwood of Austintown’s Greenwood Chevrolet was still upbeat on his year-end sales.
“We thought we hold our own, and we were really grateful for the support of our local community,” he said.
At the Haus Auto Group in Canfield, owner Chris Haus estimated his year-end sales were down from 2% to 5%.
“Nothing crazy huge. Pretty similar but nothing crazy, no,” Haus said.
Greenwood’s problem last year was the lack of cars. Today he had none of the less expensive Chevrolet Trax or Trailblazers on the lot. His best sellers last year were the Equinox and Blazer.
“We weren’t able to meet everybody’s needs because we didn’t have everything we needed. Also, there’s no reason for manufacturers to give any kind of extra specials, give them 1.9% rate or rebates,” Greenwood said.
At Haus, the number of vehicles on the lot was not an issue.
“Everything was really good for us. We do a really good job of purchasing vehicles of the general public, so we didn’t have any inventory issues, even in 2021. For us, we had a great year,” Haus said.
Haus thinks 2023 will be better than last year, even with higher interest rates, because the costs of used vehicles are dropping.
“A car that was $25,000 six months ago and now it’s $20,000. Your payment is actually a little bit cheaper with 7% interest than it is at 3% buying it as $25,000,” Haus said.
Greenwood predicts an uptick as well.
“Do doubt we are going to be up. Could be some speed bumps. I wish the interest rates weren’t as high as they are right now,” he said.
Greenwood also said there are no electric vehicles on his lot, but he expects to see that increase in the next year or two. His dealership is not yet set up to handle them. They need more charging stations, and his maintenance people need to be trained on how to fix them.