The Road to Recovery

B.E. auto dealers cope with a sluggish economy by using incentives and other measures to drive traffic in their direction

Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, and Toyota dealerships. Last year he had sales of $154.3 million, making his company No. 14 on the BE AUTO DEALER 100 list. “Our import lines had a record year,” says Pittman, who also owns a Dodge dealership. “They have new products and are very competitive. Our Lexus and BMW dealerships had a stellar year.” Pittman says it was not difficult getting into the import business. With more than 27 years in the car business, he says it was all about networking. He plans to get more import dealerships and is training family members, including his son, daughter, and son-in-law, to help grow the six dealership business (see BE Auto Dealer of the Year, this issue). 

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
“There are signs that the economy has bottomed out,” says NADA’s chief economist, Paul Taylor. “And 0% financing prompted a surge in the final quarter of last year. But there are some concerns. There were a lot of trade-ins of one and two-year-old cars, and dealerships have had an ample amount of those. That will provide stiff competition for new-vehicle sales,” explains Taylor.

But if the economy stays strong, massive employee layoffs lessen, interest rates stabilize, and a new war doesn’t break out this year, economists say new-vehicle sales will still remain close to record levels. BEMercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, and Toyota dealerships. Last year he had sales of $154.3 million, making his company No. 14 on the BE AUTO DEALER 100 list. “Our import lines had a record year,” says Pittman, who also owns a Dodge dealership. “They have new products and are very competitive. Our Lexus and BMW dealerships had a stellar year.” Pittman says it was not difficult getting into the import business. With more than 27 years in the car business, he says it was all about networking. He plans to get more import dealerships and is training family members, including his son, daughter, and son-in-law, to help grow the six dealership business (see BE Auto Dealer of the Year, this issue). 

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

“There are signs that the economy has bottomed out,” says NADA’s chief economist, Paul Taylor. “And 0% financing prompted a surge in the final quarter of last year. But there are some concerns. There were a lot of trade-ins of one and two-year-old cars, and dealerships have had an ample amount of those. That will provide stiff competition for new-vehicle sales,” explains Taylor.

But if the economy stays strong, massive employee layoffs lessen, interest rates stabilize, and a new war doesn’t break out this year, economists say new-vehicle sales will still remain close to record levels.
2002 Top 10 Growth Leaders 

COMPANY LOCATION 2000 SALES* 2001 SALES* % INCREASE
BRANDON DODGE INC. Tampa, FL

99.308

242.062

143.7%

HUNTSVILLE AUTOPLEX Huntsville, AL

29.000

56.000

93.1%

MIKE JOHNSON AUTO GROUP Chesterfield, MI

28.500

54.000

89.5%

WINSTON PITTMAN ENTERPRISES Louisville, KY

90.034

154.263

71.3%

THE HARRELL COMPANIES Atlanta, GA

268.547

417.351

55.4%

JIM MITCHELL AUTO GROUP Lynchburg, VA

110.000

170.000

54.5%

PALANKER CHEVROLET West Babylon, NY

121.595

184.319

51.6%

SIM FRYSON MOTOR COMPANY Ashland, KY

36.520

50.453

38.2%

MARTIN AUTOMOTIVE GROUP Bowling Green, KY

258.360

353.097

36.7%

FREEHOLD

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