Carson Valley’s lone car dealer shifting into high gear
Nevada Appeal News Service
MINDEN – Michael Hohl Carson Valley Chevrolet launched a promotional campaign last week to revitalize the area’s one remaining car dealership, and April activity saw a sharp increase from previous months.
“We’re just trying to reintroduce the store to the community,” General Sales Manager Tom Virden said. “We want people to stay here to buy cars instead of going to Carson or Reno.”
Virden said he was brought into the Minden branch last month to
re-energize the operation. To kick off the new campaign, the dealer ramped up advertising and special sales.
“The response has been great,” Virden said last Thursday. “We’ve had 300 people come down since Tuesday.”
Virden wouldn’t give specific sales numbers for the Minden branch, but he estimated that April sales were already four times greater than March sales.
“I think there is a pent-up demand for autos. People have been hanging on to their cars a lot longer than they used to,” Virden said. “But the banks are finally loosening up. Interest rates are down, and people are taking advantage and getting to the market and buying stuff.”
Any resurgence is welcome news to a local car market that’s seen better days. After Capital Ford pulled out of Carson Valley in early 2008, auto sales dropped sharply.
By the end of the 2008 fiscal year, motor vehicle and parts taxable sales in Douglas County had dropped 25.4 percent from the previous year, from $41.3 million to $30.8 million. At the end of fiscal year 2009, which ended June 30, total motor vehicle and parts sales had fallen another 12.2 percent to $27.1 million.
In December, auto and parts sales in Douglas County fell 32.1 percent from the same month in 2008, from $1.7 million to $1.2 million.
But with the new year came signs of recovery, not to be overestimated but at least a start in the right direction. Motor vehicle and parts taxable sales for January 2010 rang in at $1.8 million, up 37.2 percent from January 2009’s $1.3 million.
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