Valley car dealers see signs of an improving economy

FRESNO, Calif.

"Sales have been really good all summer long there's a lot of pent up demand," Brett Hedrick of Hedrick Chevrolet in Clovis said.

It's the same story from Derrell Steed, across the street at Future Ford.

"Business is actually really well, with the economy getting better, and with the dealers incentives, and the manufactures incentives and all the newer produces we've got; we have actually scene a real pick up in the industry," Steed said.

Sales of General Motors were up nearly 15 percent in August over the same time last year, Ford and Chrysler also jumped by about 12 percent.

Imports also an increase in car sales, but the numbers were a surprise for domestic makers, who have seen a shortage in some of the most popular models, like the Chevy Cruz and Ford Fusion.

With gas prices what they are it is no surprise compact cars are hot, but at Chevrolet dealers even the full size Impala is hard to keep in stock.

"This is traditionally the time when inventories get low," Hedrik said.

For domestic automakers the top sellers remain pickup trucks. Economists say car sales along with housing sales are another sign of an economic recovery, Hedrick believes it's finally occurring in the Central Valley.

"We have a slow turnaround in the Valley. We always seem to be the last ones who go into any kind of economic downturn and also the last ones to come out. "Hedrick said.

But customers are being cost conscious, local dealers say used car sales are running twice as high as new.

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