Vehicle sales continue to break records
The main drag just before you hit the city of Watertown is called Outer Washington Street but many know it simply as dealership row. Car dealers line both sides of Outer Washington and they are growing thanks to record sales. So how has this industry bucked the trend, given the economy? Our Brian Dwyer takes a closer look.
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- As cars drive up and down Outer Washington Street, the view is more cars and lots of them. All for sale. The main road into Watertown is home to dealerships of just about every make and model. And as 2012 unfolds, it's only getting bigger.
"When we built this building back in 1988, it was plenty big enough, but right now we're cramped," Barry Waite, Waite Toyota Owner said.
"Nationally the car market has really bucked the economic trends of the nation and all the economic concerns," Dwight Davidson of the Davidson Auto Group added.
Dealerships here in Watertown and all over the country are seeing record sales with each passing month. Nationally, some 15 million cars could be sold in 2012. That's a far cry from the 2008 lows that nearly killed the whole industry. Several factors like higher employment rates and consumer confidence are helping but many said it's pent-up demand from 2008 that's really key.
"A lot of people haven't bought cars in a long time. The average age of a vehicle on the road right now is about 11 years old. So it's coming to the point where people are going to have to do something sooner or later," Waite said.
And here locally since 2008, things are even better, thanks in part to Fort Drum and the growth of Watertown.
"We've seen a very steady growth ever since then. Car sales probably within a year will be back to pre 2008 levels," Davidson added.
And that will make for very busy dealerships, sales and service. It's part of the reason why new and improved dealerships are popping up all along Outer Washington with plenty more in the works. Improved facilities equates to better customer care.
"As you sell all these vehicles, you have to be able to service those vehicles," Waite said.
As for concerns over rising fuel prices, dealers said more hybrids and vehicles with better fuel economy are storming the showrooms.
FX Caprara has recently opened a new KIA and a new Volkswagen dealership on Outer Washington, and both Davidson's and Waite Toyota expect to finish their dealerships later this year.