Treasure Valley auto sales, which were sleepy through much of the spring and summer, took off in August. Sales were 20 percent higher than in August 2011.
New-vehicle sales were up 32 percent to 1,779, their highest monthly level since June 2008, before the full force of the recession smacked auto dealers. Used-car sales were up 16 percent to 4,473, their highest monthly level since October 2006.
A number of factors contributed, said Dave Blewett, president of Kendall Automotive Group, which owns Kendall Ford of Meridian:
Æ Model-year change-overs typically happen in August, and manufacturers offer rebates and other incentives to clear out last year's cars.
Æ Financial institutions have opened the spigot on car lending, which was all but shut down during the recession. Borrowers with good credit can get car loans at around 3 percent, and lenders are easing credit restrictions.
Æ There is pent-up demand from buyers who have ridden their old cars into the ground.
Sales figures are based on vehicle registrations and are compiled by the Idaho Automobile Dealers Association and the Idaho Statesman marketing department.
Bill Roberts: 377-6408