Some Iowans have been doing more than purchasing holiday gifts this month, they are making a big investment in a new vehicle. Bruce Anderson is the president of the Iowa Auto Dealers Association. “Nationally new car and truck sales are up about eight percent over last year. In Iowa, that number is only about five percent,” Anderson says. “I think that is because Iowa had such a good year last year — we came out of the recession a little bit quicker than the rest of the country did.”
He says there are a couple of reasons for the uptick in auto sales the last couple of years. “Consumer confidence is up and credit has eased. It has become a little easier to get a car loan or to get your vehicle financed than it was a couple of years ago,” Anderson says. Anderson says the economic slowdown saw people holding onto their cars longer, and there’s now a pent up demand. “In Iowa the average age of the car on the road is 11 years, so there are a lot of people anxious to get into a new or newer one,” he explains.
There’s also been a holiday blitz of ads and sales for vehicles to rival other retailers.”December is just traditionally the best month to buy a new car anyway,” Anderson says, “and there are a lot of programs as the 2013’s are getting sold off the lots and the 2014’s are arriving. There are all kinds of programs, both the manufacturers and the dealers are highly motivated to finish the year strong.”
There are also now more options to take home a new car without buying it outright. “Leases have really returned to the marketplace,” Anderson says. “During the recession when things were so tough and credit seized up, there just wasn’t much lease activity at all. All of a sudden that is back and in a big way.” He says leasing has become a more viable option for people in the car market. “Especially if you’re a small business or expensing part of it…there’s some very aggressive leasing options out there. And they have some cool components on some of them that include routine maintenance, so it’s all built into a single monthly price,” Anderson says.
Anderson expects auto sales to finish strong for the year as buyers take advantage of the incentives that will go away at the end of December.