Recession is a word seared into the brains of most Treasure Valley auto dealers. They remember when car sales all but stopped in 2008. Lending dried up. Dealerships closed. Employees lost their jobs.
You wont find the R word on local dealer lots this year unless youre talking about revenue. By November, Treasure Valley car dealers had notched their best year since prerecession days.
Some numbers, compiled by the Idaho Automobile Dealers Association:
New car sales: 15,601, up 20 percent from last year.
Used cars: 41,209, up 8 percent.
Total sales: 56,810, up 12 percent from 2011 and 15 percent from 2008.
Small-business owners, themselves hammered by recession, started showing up again to buy vehicles, says D.J. Wiebold, general manager at Dan Wiebold Ford in Nampa, whose sales rose 14 percent in 2012.
Dealers started seeing the upswing in 2011. Wiebold says two primary factors drove the market in 2012: Customers needed to replace cars theyd held on to for too long the average age of a car on the road now is 11 years and there was a widespread desire for better mileage.
At Bronco Motors, sales are still 15 percent to 20 percent from their 2005 peak, says Grant Petersen Jr., president. But theyre improving. He thinks sales will grow by 8 percent to 12 percent this year.
It is much better than the dark days, Petersen says.
Bill Roberts: 377-6408