Car sales on track to reach highest rate since 2008 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Car sales on track to reach highest rate since 2008

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Car sales are on track to reach their highest rate since February 2008 with 15 million vehicles sold.

Local dealerships say low rates combined with year-end incentives are bringing in lots of eager car buyers.

"Manufacturers always try to push their product right at the end of the year," said Michael Schley, sales manager for Witham Auto Center in Waterloo. "Incentives are into (the) $6,500, even $7,500 (range) on some vehicles."

In fact, at Witham and dealerships around the country, that's allowing 2012 to be a banner year for auto sales.

That's welcome news after the industry suffered slow sales during the recession.

Whether it's a car, truck, or SUV, fuel efficiency continues to be a key factor driving people to make a purchase, dealerships say.

Customer Gwen Timmerman had other reasons to get behind the wheel of her new Chevy Traverse.

"I work for Tyson here in town, and I do the event, and I have growing boys," Timmerman said. "So I just needed a little bit more room."

Timmerman said it was the low interest rates that made it the perfect time to upgrade to an SUV.

It's not just new cars that are flying off dealership lots. Many dealers are seeing very strong sales of used vehicles.

That's pushing them to send letters to owners of high-demand late-model cars, encouraging them to do a trade-in.

"Fuel efficient vehicles have been a big focal point, and it's been a big focal point for all the manufacturers," said Schley. "Even the new F-Series pick-ups, the eco-boost is getting upwards of 21 miles per gallon. For a large pick-up, that's pretty uncommon."

It's not just dealers benefiting from increased auto sales.  Auto supply stores and many other Cedar Valley businesses are boosted from higher consumer confidence.

Dealers say they hope the strong sales trend continues into 2013.

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