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Incentives Drive Northwest Florida Car Market

May 28, 2002

Rebates, incentives and a strengthening economy have continued to fuel new car sales in Northwest Florida, auto dealers say, according to Northwest Florida News.

Sales at area car dealers have remained high since the major manufacturers began offering

zero-percent financing and other incentives following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The strongest trends have been seen in new-car sales, according to Steve Barrett, sales manager at Preston Hood Chevrolet in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. "New car sales are up 20 percent over last year," Barrett said. "It's the best we've ever done since I've been here, and I've been here 17 years."

Paul Taylor, the chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), said that positive signs in the gradually recovering economy bode well for new car sales for the balance of 2002. "With job creation starting to rise, the market is broadening

for auto sales," Taylor said.

Concerns about disproportionate hikes in interest rates by the Federal Reserve are also starting to fade, "and that's good news for car shoppers and our industry," Taylor said.

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