A Change in Sales on Local Car Lots

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

Just a year ago, gas prices were over $3 a gallon, and climbing higher everyday.

So when you filled up, you were spending anywhere from $12 to $30 more than you are right now. Those prices sent many looking for ways to save money on the road, and Hybrid sales took off.

But now that gas prices have fallen, are gas-efficient vehicles still the rage?

"There for a while everyone was just kind of taking a step back," Bob McGill with Allen Honda said.

For months, high fuel prices had SUVs and less fuel-efficient vehicles, taking a backseat to Hybrids.Consumers like Bethalyn Donovan, we're trying to watch every penny they had.

"It's a very big decision in my household finding a car that saves gas determines where we go and errands and everything," Donovan said.

But now a year later the Hybrids are the ones sitting on the sidelines.

"This year it calmed down since gas prices have come down, of course there is no waiting list now on hybrids," McGill said.

Car salesman Bob McGill says the difference is like night and day from last year. Then finding a Hybrid on any car lot proved difficult.

Now, that's not the case.

"I think right now I have, I might have three to five Hybrids," McGill said. "It's more profitable I guess right now to save the money to go back to the regular Sedan."

Another thing that's proving to be more profitable is investing in what you already have.

"Traffic has been up quite a bit on the service side, it's up about 10 percent from where it was last year," Kyle Parker in Allen Honda's Service Division said.

Kyle Parker says more people are opting to fix up their older vehicles instead of trading them in.

"I'm just thinking it's the monetary aspect of it. It's a little bit cheaper to put 1,000 into it, or 500 into it once every six months to a year--instead of having that car payment every month," Parker said.

But for some larger, and newer models...

"The Pilot might have slowed down a bit because the gasoline situation, but it's picked up again since gas has come down," McGill said.

McGill says interest has peaked once again.

"Sales are up over the last few weeks, things have really picked up since the stock-market is doing a little bit better," McGill said.

Now although standard car sales are fairing a little bit better right now than Hybrids. Officials at Allen Honda tell News 3 they do have a new Hybrid model coming in later this month that will be priced at about the same rate as some of the less gas efficient models.

So with price not being a big factor anymore you could see Hybrid sales begin to heat back up.

Last month, 15,000 hybrids sold nationwide, compared to about 40,000 last April at the peak of sales.

Some dealerships and automakers are now offering cash and other financing incentives to help get Hybrids rolling off the lot again.

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