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Money Matters: Auto Sales Up

May 5, 2010, 9:50 PM by Angela Kennecke

Money Matters: Auto Sales Up
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Americans are opening up their wallets. Consumer spending jumped to a record high in March, with most of that money going to buy vehicles. 

Jackie Jockheck and her husband are looking to buy a convertible for the summer. They wouldn't have considered it a year ago but are now feeling more confident in the economy.

"You get that feeling from everyone, family, friends and yes, I believe the economy's getting better.  And that's why we're out here looking and shopping," Jockheck said.

Ford saw its fifth straight month of at least a 20 percent gain in sales and the numbers are even better locally.

"We've been awfully excited this year in general. April over April we saw an 80 percent increase for us alone. That’s pretty good signal things are going in the right direction for us," Kevin Rost of Sioux Falls Ford said.

Toyota, helped by major incentives after the recall crisis, saw a 24 percent increase in sales from a year ago. Other automakers are also up, including Hyundai, which was the hottest brand during the entire financial crisis.

"Hyundai has been building in our minds always good cars, very affordable. But recently the new Sonata 2011 and 2010 Tucson, both cars have done very well in our market and nationally," Dwain Shay of Billion Hyundai said.

Over at Ford, trucks are selling again and Americans are back to buying SUVs.

"It's the Ford Edges and Escapes up 100 percent year over year. I think with the auto business a lot of pent up demand when you have declines like we experienced so long and people not replacing cars, eventually you have to replace your vehicle. Hopefully, we've turned the corner and things are looking up," Rost said.

Honda and Nissan sales were also up. Chrysler also saw a big improvement. General Motors meantime had a 6.4 percent increase from a year ago when bankruptcy was on the horizon.

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