BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. — During the fourth quarter of 2008, owners and managers of small automotive and other vehicle dealerships indicated that economic conditions are currently having the greatest impact on their businesses, but look forward to an improved economy in the next 12 months, according to a survey conducted by the Small Business Research Board (SBRB).

According to the SBRB Automotive/Vehicle Dealer and Service Industry Report, 40 percent of owners and managers of automotive/vehicle dealers and the automotive service industry said they expect the general economy to improve over the next 12 months. This is a 12 point increase over the second quarter of 2008.

Thirty-three percent report their revenue and hiring expectations to remain consistent from the previous year. Forty percent believe the single most important issue impacting their business is economic conditions, an 11 point increase from the second quarter of 2008. Nineteen percent reported that the greatest issue impacting their business is interest rates.

The report indicated that 44 percent of the responding businesses said that access to credit has been more difficult to obtain. Within the next year, 12 percent will request to increase their line of credit, 24 percent will request a decrease and 63 percent expect their lines of credit to remain the same.

More than 500 small businesses participated in the overall nationwide fourth quarter SBRB poll supported by IPA. The SBRB study is a voluntary survey conducted quarterly.