Auto sales soar

New car sales are speeding up at a pedal-to-the-metal rate, and local dealers say they're enjoying the ride.
Marie Havenga
Jan 12, 2013


According to a Bloomberg news report, the nationwide auto industry is on its best sales streak since 1973.

Consumers have been driving off the lot with new cars, motoring sales growth to at least 10 percent in three straight years — a feat that hasn't been accomplished in four decades.

And with an estimated 14.5 million sales, 2012 ranked as the best year for new cars since 2007.

Analysts point to several possible reasons for accelerated sales. Superstorm Sandy is estimated to be responsible for about 50,000 vehicle purchase decisions in December. An aging fleet — the average age of cars on the road is 10.8 years — may have also encouraged new car purchases. Rock-bottom interest rates are an incentive in many cases.

Experts expect sales to continue motoring upward. Market research firm Polk projects new vehicle sales this year will top 15.3 million, up from 14.5 million in 2012.

Max Machuta, general manager of Preferred Ford, 1401 S. Beacon Blvd. in Grand Haven, said he concurs with the national analysis. He was in the business 40 years ago and he said it's a similar ride.

Machuta said sales have increased 400 percent in the past several years. He expects another 15 to 20 percent jump in 2013.

“We're very excited about the direction the business is taking,” Machuta said. “It absolutely is following the national trend. Things are looking better and brighter. I think there's optimism on the part of the people in this area.”

Machuta believes the automotive industry drives not only Michigan's economy, but the national economy as well.

“Some of the politicians will say housing drives it," he said. "I will tell you automotive drives housing and it snowballs from there.”

The federal government's “cash for clunkers” program in 2009 jumpstarted the sales resurgence, Machuta said. The program offered up to $4,500 for the trade-in of an old vehicle to purchase a newer fuel-efficient model.

“That was probably the impetus that began the increase,” Machuta said. “That was really the spark. It helped not only the auto industry, but the economy.”

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Interesting comments from Max Machuta. Several people I know partook of the "Cash for Clunkers" program - this at a time when the noise coming from the anti-Obama Auto Bailout/Clunker Program crowd was deafening.

It's rewarding to hear right from the horse's mouth (Mr Machuta) that this was indeed a valuable, timely, and successful bit of Federal nudging.

This latest news, along with the reports I'm getting that many West Michigan auto-related industries are very much getting up to speed, is cause for celebration. Check out the Detroit car show next week - I'm told fuel efficiency and innovation will be at the forefront. Could it be that Michigan will once again be an automotive global force for innovation, design, and profitability?


Besides hurting us and our next generation with unsustainable debt, it's doing a really good job in other areas!

Or did you miss that one???


Interesting link. Being environmentally-minded myself, it is disappointing the program filled up landfills, although, in all likelihood, they would've ended up there with or without the program. I emphasize with the opinion that this was a lost opportunity.

My angle was economic, as was the article. It seems to have done the job for which it was intended - jump start the economy. As for the direct consequences of the deep recession of 2008-2009, and the mounting debt of the the Bush years, this and other programs are proving to slowly but surely steady the economy, set the stage for investment, job creation, and increasing federal revenue.

I hope you were as upset about the Bush wars on the US credit card, tax cuts for the wealthy, and the Big Pharma deal that, coupled with higher interest rates at the time, added trillions to the debt, and help to create the near global financial collapse that eventually required the implementation of the Cash for Clunkers program.


I was upset with President Bush's second term, but nowhere near as upset as I am with with what the current guy is doing. It's time to open your eyes! How much has he added to the debt? DOUBLE!!! And are we better? We're still in a "recession" and soon headed for economic depression!
I don't know if you been grocery shopping on a "average" income or tried to find a job lately, but things are not good!


As to the "other guy", take a minute and read this... The difference between us is that, watching Obama for the last four years, I do not believe he will bring us into another recession - for too many reasons to get into here.

Unemployment is still too high, but what I'm seeing is steady hiring - the problem being a lot of the jobs don't pay what they used to, thus intensifying the pinch at the grocery store.


Yep, guess you can't beat a soon to be failed agenda!!!


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