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Car buyers shift to lower end of market

At least 50 percent of all car orders in the current economic downturn are for vehicles between$5,000 to$10,000, say local auto dealers, as the majority of buyers shift to the lower end of the used car market.

Ironically, said head of the Bahamas Motor Dealers Association Fed Albury, even those who could afford the newer models are opting for used vehicles–albeit in a much higher price bracket.

“We had a stronger November than we did December, but we’ve seen tremendous upsurge in demand for used vehicles[and]the new stuff has tapered off,”Albury, also of Executive Motors, toldGuardian Businessyesterday.”Those on the lower pay scale are hesitating to purchase because of economic conditions. There is heavy demand for used vehicles between$5,000 to$10,000[and]that’s the greatest demand… at least 50 percent or higher.

“But what has been defying new car sales is the high end used cars that are in the$50,000 to$90,000 range.”

He said his dealership recently brought in four Lexus vehicles that were around$90,000 and in just three weeks they were sold off the lot.

The used vehicle shift is something that most dealers had expected, following recent tax hikes on vehicles in the 2010/2011 Budget. Albury asserts that currently about 40 percent of inquiries on cars are coming through a website his dealership created just for their used cars. He notes, however, that the use of the website by Family Island residents may be contributing to that high rate.

Rick Lowe of Nassau Motor Company said many persons in the industry expected to match the level of sales seen last December, which was a significant falloff from the year before.

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