Labor Day weekend busy for car dealerships

FRESNO, Calif.

Several valley car dealers say Labor Day is one of the busiest holidays of the year. And it's the special rebates and manufacturer incentives that are drawing people to the car lot.

It was one of the busiest weekends of the year for Fresno Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram which just moved to its new location on Blackstone and Sierra three months ago.

"It's a four day weekend-- people are off, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday-- it's a giant weekend; we advertise heavy," Shafi Shirzad said.

Zero-percent financing and big rebates are what drew many customers in, though Shirley Roberts was car-shopping simply because she had the extra day off. "Its labor day weekend and my husband and I work very hard and this is our day off and we are having fun."

General Sales Manager Shafi Shirzad says sales were up about 30-percent, compared to a typical weekend. They were prepared with more sales people on the floor and online, "We have two of our sales people assigned to our internet department."

Many people looking for deals also know it's around this time of year that car dealer's start clearing out their inventory, making room for the next model year.

"Our 2011 are already in in some of the models-- we're trying to give big savings to consumer so we can get rid of 2010 model.

At Hendrick's Chevrolet in Clovis-- many of their 2010 models are long-gone.

"You kind of hear end of the year sales-- the end of the year kind of moved up three or four months. A lot of the times it looks like the end of the year is in September," Casey Rowe said.

Hedrick's and others dealers say their used car inventory is also getting slimmer as more consumers opted to buy used in the tough economy.

"People that normally get out of their cars in three or four years are keeping their vehicle a little bit longer."

But fewer cars have translated to higher prices. According to the popular online automotive resource edmunds.com-- used car prices are up 10 percent over last year making those new car discounts more appealing.

"I'm ready for something new and fun like this."

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