By Roy J. Eaton | Wise County Messenger
Decatur’s three new car dealerships saw significant sales increases in 2017, registering 3,691 new cars and trucks, a 10 percent increase over 2016 registrations.
2018 could be an even better year, according to top executives from James Wood Motors, Karl Klement Ford and Klement Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram.
“It was an exciting year for us,” said Joe Redwine, general sales manager at Karl Klement Ford. “We saw a 25 percent increase from the previous year. The new Super Duty pickup was a big reason for our growth.”
Pickup sales also topped the registrations at James Wood Motors.
“Our business took a significant jump in new vehicle sales, all coming from Chevrolet and GMC,” said Carey Williams, executive manager at the dealership. “The new lineup of mid-sized crossovers were up as well, but that affected the lower demand for cars.”
Derek Sugg, general manager of Klement Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, said the heavy-duty Ram pickup was a major draw for customers.
“We saw our sales of the Ram Heavy Duty increase by 226 percent,” Sugg said. “Most of this was the new 6.4 Hemi diesel engine and our opportunity to have a large inventory of heavy-duty pickups.”
The weakness in car sales was reflected at all three dealerships because of the booming popularity of small and mid-sized crossover vehicles. Sugg said the Jeep Cherokee was a top performer, and Redwine credited the Ford Explorer and Escape with helping lift sales.
Williams said the mid-sized Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave have been early successes in 2018, along with the GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Equinox and Buick Encore.
“We have forecast a 10 percent increase in half-ton pickups for 2018 with the all new Silverado coming in the third quarter,” Williams said. “We’re excited to roll into ’18 with the momentum coming out of 2017.”
Redwine was also optimistic for the new year with the 2018 Expedition arriving at the dealership.
“But we still need help in car sales,” he said. “This is a major concern for us in gaining market share. We need a car that competes with the Honda and Toyota name.”
Sales figures for the Metroplex are compiled by The Freeman Auto Report of Dallas and reflect total registrations, including retail, commercial and fleet sales. Some vehicles, such as cross-overs and SUVs, can be registered as either cars or trucks, making direct comparisons difficult.