Automotive sales were up nationwide in 2012, and reports indicate that the auto industry is a leader of economic recovery in the U.S.
Two of the main dealers in the lake area — Hulett Chevrolet-Buick-GMC in Camdenton and Sakelaris Ford in Versailles — are reporting that the local market are seeing similar improvement to the national trend with the market stabilizing and sales starting to go up.
Both dealerships continue to see mainly truck and SUV buyers, but reported a trend towards vehicles with better fuel mileage.
"We're seeing a trend toward higher fuel mileage in SUVs and cars," said Jason Hulett, president at Hulett Chevrolet-Buick-GMC.
While the F series trucks are always Ford's number one product, Sakelaris Ford Versailles Manager Jim Dykzeul said the Escape is also a hot seller this year. Revamped for 2013, the Escape is the smallest SUV that Ford makes.
"Smaller is definitely a trend," Dykzeul said. "But overall from new to pre-owned, we're definitely seeing a good turn around."
So far in 2013, sales at Sakelaris Ford Versailles are up from last year and the year before that, he said.
Sales at Hulett Chevrolet-Buick-GMC have been stable so far in 2013, said Hulett. Business is improving, he said, and their team is optimistic that sales will continue to pick up at an increasing rate.
Dykzeul attributed the increase in sales to low interest rates, lower fuel prices, popular products and the no-pressure simplicity of doing business away from the city.
"It's been phenomenal here. At our store, we've had the same team for so many years. It's made a huge difference. We get a lot of repeat business from Kansas City and St. Louis," Dykzeul commented.
Jay Toman, a retired firefighter from Kansas City, has been a customer at the Ford dealership in Versailles for many years. He bought his old 2011 truck and his wife's 2010 Mustang there.
Toman recently purchased a new 2013 F150 Platinum in Ruby Red from Sakelaris Versailles.
He says he decided to upgrade engines to get better fuel mileage when he pulls his camper.