National Automobile Dealers Association meets in San Francisco

Various cars sit in the lot for sale at a General Motors used car dealership at the Troy Motor Mall in Troy, Mich.


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Car dealers haven't had much to celebrate over the past couple of years. GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, took government bailouts, and hundreds of dealers were closed. But things are looking up for the automotive industry. And a lot of those car dealers are feeling some spring in their, er, gas pedals as they get together for a big convention in San Francisco.

Carroll Smith is there. He's president of Monument Chevrolet near Houston and he's with us now. Good morning Carroll.

CARROLL SMITH: Good morning Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: What's it like over there? What's the mood this year over years past?

Gosh, the mood is so different among dealers and manufacturers as we've come off some pretty tough years, and we actually are seeing a good uptick in business, and so the mood is just so different. It's exciting.

CHIOTAKIS: The automakers are reporting, you know, sales gains over last year, obviously. Are you seeing that translate at your dealership?

Absolutely. We saw that January, for the industry, was up 17 percent. Quite frankly my market and my dealership -- we were up about 40 percent over January of last year. So we had a very strong month.

CHIOTAKIS: Did you think that was going to happen? Put yourself, like, a year ago?

SMITH: Of course a year ago I don't think any of knew where our economy and where we were going. We knew that there was a lot of pinning up of demand going on even though things are still tough in our economy. And the certainty have become back in. That's why we've seen people back out willing to buy something as large and expensive as an automobile. Our month last month was very strong in pick up truck sales. And you know, I don't know if we're getting people that, you now when the gas price is up they bought something smaller, something that didn't really fit their needs. But we're seeing people back in the truck market.

CHIOTAKIS: Carroll Smith runs Monument Chevrolet near Houston. Carroll thanks.

You bet.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.
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The BIGGEST thing to hit hard on Dealerships in Arizona & especially on "ALL" Boarder Towns such as Kingman, Arizona this last year....is when Arizona decided to raise the State Tax from 7.85% to 8.85% to bail out their Government Financial Mess.....
Totally hurting & destroying Boarder Town Tax Revenue for the Towns it's self. (AS Dealerships have always been the main source of Tax Revenue in Small Boarder Towns such as Kingman, Arz)
We are talking approx. $4,000. Tax alone on wanting to buy a new Truck "IF" not more....
At the Tax Price alone....it encourages Small Town Residents to buy privately, or continue to repair their vehicles, or drive across the Boarder of our States to find a Cheaper Truck, with less Tax...
This NEW Tax has chain reacted in closing of other business' due to the large lay offs or closing of the Towns Dealerships & past Employees becoming Unemployed or working for much less money, if not having to work out of Town to pay existing bills without the income of buying a new Truck as they were wanting & needing..etc.etc.
The Dealer Association could help the Boarder Town Dealerships of Arizona by reduceing the Whole-Sell Cost to the Dealers of "ALL" Boarder Small Towns, in hopes of off setting the higher Tax placed on the buyer.....
As Small Boarder Towns will continue to be at a stand still with little growth in sells.....
While TRUCKS are the MAIN vehicle that is MOST needed in the Desert of Arizona living....
Debbie Harris of Don's Office Supply in Kingman, Arizona

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