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Auburn dealers banking on higher sales in 2012

2011 saw greater gains in car sales than 2011
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn car dealers are predicting 2012 will bring another jump in the number of new car sales. They say more cars were sold at their dealerships in 2011 than 2010, which is consistent with national statistics. Some local buyers say their decision to buy is more out of necessity than economic factors. “At Toyota we were up 3 percent on new car sales,” said Tony Toohey, general manager for Auburn Magnussen’s Toyota and Auburn Magnussen’s Dodge Chrysler Jeep. “If I had to speculate, new car sales are definitely up.” Toyota sales in Sacramento were only up 1 percent, while in Northern California they were slightly down, according to Toohey. He speculated part of that may have been due to a decline in supply from Japanese automakers. Sales rose by 55 percent in 2011 at Auburn Magnussen’s Dodge Chrysler Jeep, he said. He added that a rise in optimism about the economy may be one factor for increasing sales nationwide. “Customers appear to be cautiously optimistic about the local economy into next year,” Toohey said. Sam and Edith Vossoghi, of Dutch Flat, were looking for a new car at Gold Rush Subaru in Auburn Thursday afternoon. Sam Vossoghi said their decision to buy has nothing to do with any changes in the economy. “We need something good for snow,” Sam Vossoghi said. “It has nothing to do with our economy. It’s just time for us to get a new car.” Walt Fleischaker, salesmen at Gold Rush Subaru, said while has noticed a slight increase in people wanting to buy Subaru has done well even in a tough economy. “The Subaru product is so highly rated right now. We only build 200,000 a year, so our inventory stays pretty low,” Fleischaker said. Steve Raley, a manager at Auburn Ford, said the dealership’s new cars sales are consistent with national statistics. “Essentially, new car sales are definitely up. Used cars have remained relatively steady,” Raley said. “I just see more people buying. We have a little larger staff than we had in 2010.” Raley said he has not only noticed changes in how many people are buying cars, but the type of car they are buying. “It’s starting to swing a little back from the smaller cars to the SUVs and trucks,” Raley said. “Essentially the factory geared up to produce more of that type of vehicle (smaller cars) and there was actually a short time weren’t enough (SUVs and trucks) around. Inventory in that respect has improved as well.” In 2012, Raley said he is predicting “more improvement, slowly” for new car based on trends over the past couple of years. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.