BANDON, Ore. — For a large number of new- and used-car dealers, jumping into the buy here, pay here business last year was a lifesaver, CNW reported last week.

High-margin vehicles sold to high-risk customers were once the domain of dirt-lot dealerships, but that’s no longer the case, CNW noted in its April newsletter. “No longer,” wrote Spinella, estimating that the segment achieved more than $16.5 million in gross sales and moved 2.5 million units. “Some of the most well-heeled franchised and independent dealers are now BHPH advocates, and for good reason.”

CNW also noted that some BHPH operations recorded significantly higher average retail prices. The industry as a whole sold cars and trucks in the $6,500 price range last year, which was up from $4,362 in 2000.

“If lenders continue to accept loan applications from lower FICO-score shoppers, as has been the trend of late, the rapid growth may slow,” wrote Spinella. “But most indications are the number of people who can only afford a BHPH vehicle will continue to outstrip supply.”