Registry of new vehicles up 20%
Upswing in state adds September
Posted: October 25, 2012 at 4:34 a.m.
LITTLE ROCK New-vehicle registrations rose 20 percent in Arkansas in September compared with September last year, a Kentucky automotive research firm said Wednesday.
There were 7,929 new vehicles registered in Arkansas last month, up from 6,617 a year earlier, said Cross-Sell of Lexington, Ky., which provides market analysis for the automotive industry.
Through the first nine months of the year, new-vehicle registrations were also up almost 20 percent, with 71,570 titled through September compared with almost 60,000 titled in the first nine months last year.
In the past two years, auto registrations have improved 22 of 24 months when compared with the same month of the previous year. July was the last month that titles declined.
“The long string of auto sales growth continues,” said Michael Pakko, chief economist at the Institute for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. “Arkansas has seen growth maintained almost all the way through since the auto market recovered after [the 2009 government stimulus program].”
The reason for the continued increase in auto sales is a pent-up demand for new vehicles, said Dennis Jungmeyer, president of the Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association.
“The lifetime of a vehicle on the road is now accepted as 10 years,” Jungmeyer said. “That’s three years longer than normal. So there is still a lot of demand out there, and it’s going to take a couple of years to catch up with it.”
Auto dealers in Arkansas are doing well, but new-car sales are not a profit center, Jungmeyer said.
“With manufacturers’ discounts and rebates and general competition, new-vehicle sales margins are negligible,” Jungmeyer said. “Now people are armed. They’ve got the Internet, probably 50 different websites where they can find out what a vehicle costs and what options are.”
A dealership makes most of its profits from used-car sales and from the service department, Jungmeyer said.
“Used cars are just at a real premium now,” Jungmeyer said.
More new Chevrolets were registered in September in Arkansas than any other make, accounting for 17.6 percent of the market. The top model was the Ford F-series pickup, which accounted for 5.7 percent of the market. Overall, there were more full-size pickups titled in September, accounting for 21 percent of the market.
There were 10,952 used vehicles titled through dealership sales last month, up 4.2 percent from September last year. An additional 18,364 used vehicles were titled last month through private-party transactions, down about 2 percent from a year before.
Totals for vehicle titles can be skewed from month to month because Arkansans have 30 days to register their cars or trucks after purchasing them. So September titles represent, for the most part, actual sales in August. State agencies do not provide the number of auto sales in Arkansas each month.
Nationally, auto sales last month totaled almost 1.2 million, the best September in the past five years, Automotive News reported. There were more Ford F-series pickups sold nationally in September and through the first nine months of the year than any other make, Automotive News said.
Business, Pages 25 on 10/25/2012