Reno Rides Record Car Sales Trend - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Reno Rides Record Car Sales Trend

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Just 5 years after the near-death of American car makers, they’re now hitting some all-time sales highs. Check out the numbers that came out today: May 2014 vehicle deliveries jumped 11.3% to 1.6 million! Car makers are now on pace to sell 16.7 million vehicles this year. In Washoe County, car and parts sales jumped 15.2% in March, boosting the county’s overall taxable sales up 11.4% over the same month a year earlier.

At Reno’s Champion Chevrolet, the news is no surprise to dealer president Jack Stanko…the evidence started showing up in his showroom months ago: "Over the past 12, 13 months, we're up like 25%, 30% in sales. What they've done right, in General Motors case is, they've done an excellent job with all new product."

GM changed their factories and labor contracts. But Jack says they also came out with better, more revolutionary cars. A good example is the Chevrolet Cruze…it had a 41% jump in sales in the U.S. last month. He told us, "It’s one of our best selling cars. Actually it’s our number one best-selling passenger car."

Champion is doing this well despite all the recent recalls. Why? Stanko told us, "The recalls affect cars that are 10 years of age." He says buyers see those flaws as a legacy of the old company, and not today's GM.

Down the street, Maurice Mendez has been at Jones West Ford for 28 years now. This year, 2014, is his favorite. As he told us, "We have the F-150. That is the number one selling vehicle in the nation. We also have the Ford Focus, which is the number one selling vehicle in the world."

It was the best May for Ford in a decade. Sales for the Mustang went up 11% last month, and that's the old model. Maurice has only 2 left at Jones West. The one in the showroom is a sleek, racecar edition. As Mendez told us, "When you want to run those turns fast...there you are, Ford Mustang."

There’s also the matter of pent up demand. So many car owners have put off new cars for so long, buying them now is less of a luxury, and more of a necessity. At Nissan of Reno, general manager Todd Mohr told us, "I've been in the car business over 20 years, and I see more cars now coming in with over 200,000 miles on them than I ever have before."

Of all the foreign makes, Nissan had the biggest jump in May: 18.8% nationwide. But at Nissan of Reno, Mohr told us, "We actually had in the month of May, we were up 147%." He credits the Altima, a hot-selling car with very good gas mileage and an affordable price.

And there's yet more good news for the folks who toil in these car lots…credit is loosening up. It’s more available to more shoppers and more affordable too. Champion Chevrolet’s Jack Stanko echoed the other dealers when he told us, "It’s much easier to obtain credit over what it was before."

It has now been 5 years to the month when GM filed for that a government-backed bankruptcy. Is it a different company now? Stanko told us, "Yes they are." And Reno's buyers are voting where it counts most.

-written by John Potter

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