In Jan. 29 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
It isn't good news for Detroit, or for local dealers but repair shops and parts dealers are happy with a trend they are noticing.
"First we saw people pulling out older cars that got really good gas mileage and fixing them up," said Dale Hubbard, of Hubbard's CarQuest. "Now I'd say people are fixing up their cars and trucks rather than trading them in on new ones."
Hubbard said he is seeing more people doing major repairs to vehicles, whereas in the past they would simply have sold them or traded them in on another car.
He added that customers' timing could not be better.
"I'm seeing more competition out there among the suppliers," Hubbard said. "With the economy the way it is suppliers are pushing to sell down the stock they have on hand."
Hubbard said that can mean more savings for customers.
Danny Johnson, of Johnson's NAPA Service Center said they are seeing more late model as well as older cars in the shop.
"People are doing more major repairs, where a couple of years ago they wouldn't have," Johnson said. "They'd have just traded the car a couple of years ago."
These two shops are mirroring trends apparent in national reports. Industry magazines are noting that the severe down-turn in new car sales has only been mirrored in a slight uptick in used car sales.
As the car companies are reporting dismal profits they are also cutting unprofitable models and trimming back on new models as they face an uncertain future due in part to Washington.
The Obama White House has indicated a willingness to allow states to set individual emission and ecomony requirements. White House statements have also been strongly in favor of hybrid and other engine technologies which could be displacing the American love affair with large-displacement gasoline engines.