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Car Sales Jump Up A Gear

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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ROSEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) – We’ve seen the slickly produced car commercials that laud the rebirth of Detroit’s automakers. But it’s in the showrooms of dealers like Jerry Golinvaux’s Roseville Chrysler Dodge Jeep, where sales numbers capture the real story.

“We’ve had an outstanding August,” Golinvaux said. “Sales are up 34 percent, and for the year we’re up 22 percent.”

Together, the big three automakers are reporting strong sales in the month of August. On Tuesday, General Motors said its sales were up 10 percent. Ford posted a 13 percent gain and Chrysler led the pack with a monthly increase of 14 percent.

On a Tuesday afternoon at the Roseville Chrysler dealership, the showroom was buzzing with interested customers. Dwight Robinson was among them. And he was in a buying mood.

“Mine was an ’03, so it’s about time for another one,” Robinson said.

Nationally, sales numbers are the best in years, due in large part to pent-up demand, an improving economy and aging wheels on our roads.

“The average age of vehicles, cars and trucks on the road today is 11 years old,” Golinvaux said. “And in 32 years of doing business, I can never remember vehicles being that old on the road.”

The popular “Cash for Clunkers” program took a lot of quality used vehicles out of the market. So prices are up and there are fewer good used vehicles to choose from.

As for the demand for new vehicles, it’s not just fuel efficient models that are selling. Robinson is getting a new Dodge Ram truck.

“Because I blew the engine in the other one, so I have to get another one,” Robinson said. “I always wanted to buy a brand new truck.”

It’s good news to an industry that weathered the worst economic storm in recent memory.

“It’s really good and I bless myself every day,” Golinvaux said.

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