Louisville, KY (WDRB News) -- More consumers like Michael Foree are at dealer showrooms these days to check out the newest cars and trucks. He is picking up a new Ford Escape. "I feel like it was a good deal," says Foree.
Auto sales during the first quarter of the year were the highest they have been in four years.
The U.S. auto industry has been in a steady recovery for the past couple of years and sales remain relatively strong in April after the first quarter of 2012 when demand for new cars and trucks was at its highest level in four years.
"Our sales are up around 15 percent, new car sales have been strong," says Oxmoor Ford and Mercury General Manager Mike Miles. He says his dealership had a strong year last year and that is continuing so far this year.
One reason cited for the rising sales is the need for consumers to replace aging clunkers.
"You know you hear the word pent up demand," says Miles, "and that has to be a lot of it because our trade-ins these days have had way more miles than they used to; 140,000 to 150,000 mile cars coming into the dealership."
The average age of vehicles on U. S. roads has risen to nearly 11 years, the highest on record. Although rising gasoline prices combined with lower interest rates have drawn some consumers to seek more fuel efficient cars and trucks, Miles says that is not always the case.
"You get a few people who are still looking for the high gas mileage cars," says Miles, "but the new trucks still get better mileage than they used to, so it seems not to be a big issue."
Customer Michael Foree adds, "You gotta buy gas with any car so you might as well get what you want."
Mile says his hottest sellers remain the F-150 trucks, the Fusion, and the Escape.
He hopes to see the made-in-Louisville re-designed version of the Escape in his showroom very soon. "They've (Ford) released the new Escape for delivery," says Miles, "so we should see some Escapes on our lot within the next week or two. We won't see a lot of them, it will take awhile to build up the inventory, but they have released it for sale."
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