Sunday, July 22, 2012

New-vehicle sales up in DFW - Fort Worth Star Telegram

Sales of new cars and trucks in Dallas-Fort Worth showed strong double-digit growth in the first half of 2012 in the auto industry's best year since the recession.

Registrations of new vehicles sold by dealers in retail transactions in the four-county area increased 22 percent in June over a year ago and are 16 percent higher for the first six months of this year, according to registration data compiled by Freeman Publishers of Dallas.The DFW gains are closely tracking those of the U.S. market as a whole, which was up 22 percent in June and 15 percent for the first half of the year. Registrations in Tarrant County were up 19 percent in June and 13 percent for the first half of 2012, a little less than the Metroplex and national averages.As always, the market conditions vary from dealer to dealer and among brands, but most makes and dealerships are posting sales gains."Volume is up; gross [profit] is down," said Will Churchill, co-owner of the Frank Kent Auto Group in Fort Worth. "It's a super-competitive market because there's a lot of inventory on the ground.The Frank Kent Cadillac dealership's sales are up 5 percent and the far west-side Honda store's sales are up 12 percent, Churchill said.At Texas Motors Ford in Fort Worth, business "is rocking right along," owner Cliff Johnson said. "We're up about 5 percent. If we had more inventory we could sell more."Sales at the Vandergrift Chevrolet store in Arlington have done well despite the older trucks and SUVs that won't be replaced until next year, said Rick Cantalini, executive vice president and general manager.But the Vandergrift Hyundai dealership's sales are even better, up 30 percent over 2011.Tarrant County sales have been dampened a bit by the slowdown in Barnett Shale gas drilling and production, the Machinists union strike at Lockheed and uncertainty over the presidential election, Johnson said.But Cantalini said he is seeing more small businesses buy vehicles, particular Chevy trucks that carry substantial incentives as the automaker tries to hold market share until new models arrive in a year.New registrations in Collin County rose 37 percent in June and are up 21 percent for the year over 2011. Dallas County registrations were up 22 percent for the month and 17 percent for the six months.Registrations in Denton County rose 3 percent in June and are up 13 percent for the six months. Bob Cox, 817-390-7723Twitter: @bobcoxict

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