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Auto sales up in Jacksonville and across the country

1:25 PM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Motorists are finding plenty of reasons to buy new cars as increasing auto sales are a bright spot in the economy locally and across the country.

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83-year-old T.H. Lee bought a new Kia made in his home country of Korea after driving a Crown Victoria for years.

MORE: Euro makers: VW, Audi, Mercedes jump; BMW rises

"Beautiful.  My old car is about ten years old, and it's about time to change," said Lee. "My other car was too big."

Janet Tapper bought a new car after driving her old one for 12 years.

"I found a newer one which is a lot better on gas. It is wonderful. I can't wait to take a trip," said Tapper, who like Lee, bought her new car at Southside Kia on Atlantic Blvd.

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Aging vehicles is one reason people are buying new cars, the old one is on it's last legs.

There are 240 million cars and light trucks on the roads in the United States, the average age of those vehicles is 10.8 years, a record high.

While customers are sick of looking at their old cars, car financing rates are low, also driving people to new car show rooms.

Consumer confidence is up as well. The Tom Bush Family of Dealerships has seen a big percentage increase sales over the past few months selling VW, Mazda and BMW's.

"We're probably in the upper 20 per cent range of increase or thereabouts," said Tom Bush Chief Financial Officer Gregg Migiano. "We are doing well, as well as every other car dealership around, there was a big decline quite a number of years back , a lot of dealerships became streamlined, more efficient, also the market died for a while so you have those buyers who are now coming back into the market."

MORE: September auto sales a tale of haves, have-nots

Justin Moore has been selling Chevrolets for six years. He says safety improvements and new technology are also driving sales, especially to young people.

"You can actually talk to your radio, talk to your phone, talk to your iPod, as far as safety that is great and a lot of the younger people are really interested because you can intergrate your phone and mp3 player right into your radio."

Moore says motorists want better gas mileage and they can get it with the newer models.

Car companies are optimistic about the rest of the year. Economists say auto sales could be even more robust later as some folks are holding back on major purchases until after the election.

First Coast News

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