Car dealers see brighter days ahead

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The recession of four years ago is not remembered kindly by car dealer Nick Wilson.

"No, I do not. Actually I was at a store that was doing about 120 cars a month, and overnight it went to about 30 cars a month, just like the doors shut, nobody coming in," Wilson recalled.

The memories are better now for dealer Gordon Grace.

"Well, every year we're getting a little bit better. I think we're up about 20 or 25 percent from last year. Compared to '08, that's probably 40 percent," Grace said.

Pent up consumer demand after years of staying away seems to be playing a role. That's the opinion of car dealer Steve McKey.

"We're seeing a lot of rebound. It's really coming back around now, sales are up big time and we see people out stirring and looking at automobiles. A lot of people hadn't traded in years, the market is starting to come back and they're trading again," McKey said.

While there are many reasons this industry has started to rebound from the great recession, better cars, better warranties, better technology, there is one particular reason.

Credit is more readily available now, according to Ryan McMahan.

"Back then, you still had folks that wanted to buy a car but they couldn't get the money," McMahan explained.  "Once that loosened up and the banks loosened the proverbial purse strings up, the industry started coming back."

The car purchasing experience has also changed, for both seller and buyer, according to Wilson.

"The way things are now, different from 2008 and 2009 is the customer and do research right there while they're on the lot with you, they can price shop."

That's the key word: shop. It's something that is popular once again. Last year, about 12.5 million new cars were sold, totaling more than $600 billion. The industry employs almost a million people.

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