Page 16 - BusinessWest August 3, 2020
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Driving Forces
Lack of Inventory, Skyrocketing Prices for Used Cars Dominate Market
 By George O’Brien
ack in the earliest and darkest days of the pandemic (at least in this part of the country), analysts within
the auto industry were predicting that overall sales for 2020 might be off perhaps as much as 80% from the year prior.
“We’re starting to see inventories coming back, which is exciting for all of us.”
Those projections turned out to be well off the mark, as were some of the later esti- mates as well, said Ben Sullivan, chief oper- ating officer for Balise Motor Sales, adding that a number of factors have made this year — and it’s a little more than half over, so a lot can still happen — much better than perhaps anyone could have imagined back in late March and early April.
These factors include stimulus checks
that provided some disposable income for many people, as well as some extremely attractive incentives from the manufactur- ers, including 0% interest for as many as 84 months, job-loss protection, and no pay- ments for six months.
“From an auto-dealer standpoint, I don’t think we were intended to be direct ben- eficiaries of any stimulus money,” Sullivan said. “But what the consumers are doing with the money has certainly offset what we expected to be a much steeper decline in the auto business than what we have actu- ally experienced.”
But some of these same factors, coupled with pandemic-forced factory shutdowns, have created a slew of challenges for auto dealers as well. These include shortages
of inventory for new cars, although there seems to be some improvement on that front, according to those we spoke with, and an even more pronounced shortage of used cars, which is spurring something almost
Auto Sales
Continued on page 18
Ben Sullivan says inventory has been an issue for many car dealers, but overall, the picture is much brighter than analysts were predicting in the spring.
 With Every Used Vehicle Purchase
   THIS AUGUST, BUY ANY PREOWNED VEHICLE FROM BALISE AND WE’LL INCLUDE A 3-YEAR MAINTENANCE PLAN. During these uncertain times, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. Being there for each other is what will help us all get through, and we
are here to help. Balise will cover every factory-recommended oil change, tire rotation, and multi-point inspection for the next three years, allowing you to keep a little extra money for life’s other necessities.
QUALIFIED BUYERS FINANCING THROUGH BALISE MAY DEFER PAYMENTS FOR 3 MONTHS. We hope that this summer special offer can be a stepping stone to better financial times ahead for our valued customers.
  36-month maintenance plan included with purchase of any used vehicle from 8/1/2020 through 8/31/2020, commencing on agreement application date. Plan valid for oil changes, tire rotations and multi-point inspections at Balise dealerships for vehicle manufacturer’s normal usage scheduled intervals only. Severe/heavy duty schedules and additional maintenance items may be required or recommended and are not included. Plan is not transferable to another vehicle or owner. Not valid for purchases made prior to 8/1/2020. Some exclusions may apply, see dealer for details. Customer has option to defer monthly payments for up to 90 days (must finance with dealer, not all will qualify). Monthly payments begin 90 days from contract date. Contract date must be between 8/1/2020-8/31/2020. Customer responsible for accrued interest charges. Down payment may be required. Not valid for purchases made prior to 8/1/2020. See dealer for details.
  16 AUGUST 3, 2020
Staff Photo

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