Local auto dealers see a silver lining

Reported by Lauren Lowrey email
Posted by Kate Oatis email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - As sales of new cars drop off, local dealerships are forced to find other ways to make money.

"Right now, we're just waiting for it to get straightened out,"said Walt Ericson, Dunn Chevy Buick sales manager.

Ericson has been selling cars for 33 years and says he's keeping a close eye on Capitol Hill, hoping lawmakers send a lifeline to the industry.

"I think right now it's the perfect economic storm, and the car business is no different," Ericson said.

Dunn Chevy Buick is one of hundreds of dealerships around the country who've slashed prices on new cars, lowered their advertising budgets and put fewer cars on the lot to stay profitable.

Ericson says the focus during these tough times is staying positive.

"When you're a company that's been around 100 years, you expect to be around another hundred years," Ericson said.

One area of business, however, is doing all right.

"People need to get their cars fixed, regardless of how the economy's doing," said Rob Beaudoin, body shop manager at Dunn. "The body shop and the service end normally -- during the winter months -- help support the sales end, but I think once this is settled and people can see their way clearer and they know that their jobs are intact, I believe things will begin loosening up slowly."