Auto sales roar into 2016

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – After news broke yesterday that 500 jobs would be added for a third shift at the General Motors Grand River plant, the local auto industry kicked off 2016 on a good note.

Today General Motors and Ford each reported a sales jump of 8 percent, Fiat Chrysler climbed 13 percent and Nissan was up 19 percent.

“The industry is at an all-time high. Car sales are at an all-time high for sales. There’s plenty of inventory and the incentives are very strong.” said Barry Merrill, President and General Manager of Grand Ledge Ford.

Ralph Shaheen of Shaheen Chevrolet adds “Technology, the way digital technology is performing it’s more exciting to drive a car now than ever before.”

The representatives of those two auto dealerships had a reason to be excited.

Chevrolet had its best December sales since 2006 and its best sales year since 2007, both pre-recession years.

“People come in now and they’re more in a buying mode than ever before,” adds Shaheen. “Most of their research has been done on the internet so by the time they get here, they’re ready to buy something.”

Gas prices fell under $2 a gallon for most of 2015 which could have had a positive impact on sales.

“Low gas prices have been helping the bigger vehicle sales. The trucks, the SUVs. That sort of thing,” explains Merrill.

Customers spent an average of $37,000 in December on new auto purchases up more than $1,150 from last year.

Customers like Patrick McLean are ready to buy. “The economy has risen so therefore it reinforces my business to where I can reinforce Shaheen Chevrolet.”

According to Shaheen, he expects an even bigger auto sales year for 2016.

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