Bandon, Ore. CNW Research reported increases in showroom traffic and new-car intenders' confidence in the economy during the first half of May.

Floor traffic for both new- and used-vehicles increased in the first 15 days of May, which marks the fourth consecutive period of slightly higher showroom visits. However, floor traffic was still below levels reached in 2008.

Small-business new-car purchases are still off more than 60 percent versus a year ago, but April and the opening days of May saw a slight increase in total share.

Manufacturer incentives, dealer add-ins, average MSRP, average transaction price and leasing all increased in May compared with the same month a year ago.

Contractors, who are usually the first to jump out of the truck market and first to jump back in, are reporting they are close to making a new-vehicle acquisition because of marginally better business in home remodeling and repair.

Confidence in the economy among new-car intenders showed the fourth consecutive increase through the first 10 days of May, but still lagged far behind confidence levels a year ago.