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Marginal sales increases reported for imports.

Marginal sales increases reported for imports

Despite soft sales being reported by most dealers of North American automobiles, import dealerships are reporting marginal sales increases.

"Our goal was to simply maintain the sales levels that were achieved last year, but we are noting a five-per-cent increase so far," said John Trecoce, sales manager for Cambrian Nissan in Sault Ste. Marie.

Although sales of big-ticket items have been reduced due to the combination of the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) and current high interest rates, Trecoce said sales at Cambrian Nissan have not been affected.

"We don't believe in the doom and gloom predictions. It's just business as usual," said Trecoce.

He attributes the increase to a strong customer base of repeat clients.

Carlo Guido, sales and leasing representative for North Bay Toyota, agrees that too much emphasis is being placed on the predictions of economists.

Guido said the reputations of such Toyota products as the 4-Runner and the re-styled Tercel, which is expected to be available in September, draw customers to the showroom despite high interest rates.

"We don't listen to what the economists say and it is obvious that our customers don't either," claims Guido.

Guido reports that sales at North Bay Toyota are not only up from last year, but they are increasing steadily.

"Most dealers say sales are down, but we are up," he said.

Owner and president of New Sudbury Volkswagen Rene Paquette said Audi and Volkswagen sales in Sudbury are steady.

Paquette said that, although the dealership is capable of handling more volume, sales are far from poor.

"We are on par with last year, but sales are harder to come by," he admitted.

Paquette attributes the caution being exhibited by consumers to high interest rates.

Paquette said the dealership will ride out the storm instead of attempting to boost sales by offering dealer and manufacturer incentives.

"We don't believe in giveaways or rebates. No gimmicks," he insisted. "You have to deal with the customer honestly. The public is aware that there is no free ride."

Now in her third year as an automobile dealer in Sault Ste. Marie, Josephine Paolucci, owner of Esquire Honda, said that new car sales have been "pretty average."

She attributes the lacklustre sales figures at her dealership to GST confusion, high interest rates and the labor situation at Algoma Steel.

"It could create a problem. If they (Algoma) cough, business catches pneumonia," insisted Paolucci.

Meanwhile, Target Motors of Thunder Bay is recording an approximate five-per-cent increase in sales over last year.

"They (sales) are nothing exceptional. However, they are up," said sales representative Gord Grambee.

Grambee said Mazda models such as the Miata and the Protege "have just been doing great for us."

He said a trend has been developing over the past year which has seen consumers "switching from North American-made vehicles to import models."

Grambee said he expects sales to increase steadily in the coming months.

"June was excellent and I expect that in July we will be five to seven per cent over our objective."

PHOTO : MAZDA MAITA
COPYRIGHT 1990 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Auto Leasing Report
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Aug 1, 1990
Words:513
Previous Article:Ford dealers report sales, leasing decrease.
Next Article:GM sales a barometer of local economics.
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