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Presidents Day Sales Give Car Dealers Hope

Presidents Day is traditionally a big day for retail sales - especially car sales. A General Motors dealer in Columbus says he is encouraged by the number of cars he's selling. The sales come despite the auto industry being in an apparent free-fall.

The general manager of a Pontiac, Buick, GMC dealership says Presidents Day is usually a good day for car shopping; in part because a lot of people in Columbus have the day off. And because people get the itch for a new car at about this time of year.

Because of a drastic slowdown in sales, car companies are doing their best to lure customers into the show room. Dealership owner P.J. Haydocy says low interest rates and special financing make it even more attractive to buy a car.

"The car business is probably a lot like the housing industry," Haydocy says. "It's probably a great time to buy for the consumer."

Sales in the U.S. last year sales fell 18 percent. Haydocy says auto-specific tax incentives in the stimulus plan might have done more to stimulate the car buying economy. But he says he thinks the worst is just about over.

"We've had a lot of bad news for a long period of time," Haydocy says. "I think we're finally close to bottoming out. We just need a little consumer confidence and we can get things turned around."