Auto sales are on the rebound in Great Falls

Posted at 2:16 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 16:18:42-04

Due to COVID-19 closures and restrictions over the last several months, business slowed way down for many Great Falls auto dealerships earlier this year.

“Our business got extremely quiet and was hardly non-existent,” said Jim Taylor of Taylor’s Auto Max.

The store furloughed staff for weeks but reopened thanks for federal funding.

Now, business is booming for the family-run dealership. “May, June, July has just been lights out, he said. “It's been busy.”

Taylor’s not alone; dealerships are offering historically low interest rates, higher trade-in values, and expanded loan programs. “Lending is wide open right now,” said Trevor O’Dell with Lithia Honda of Great Falls.

Both Taylor and O’Dell say it's a great time to not only trade in old cars, but the right time to shop for a new ride altogether.

“Probably one of the best times we’ve seen in our family's automotive career to make that move,” said Taylor.

O’Dell says they’re also seeing online traffic increase with more residents at home. “They’re surfing the web. They’re looking and the good news is they’re shopping, he said.

Both dealerships said sales for new and used vehicles are soaring as residents hit the road to safely social distance and enjoy outdoor activities.

"I think a lot of people severely altered their travel plans for the summer and they decided to funnel a lot of those monies into buying vehicles and staying near home," said Taylor.

O’Dell and Taylor say they’re confident in factories' abilities to keep up with consumer demand.

“I think we received 22 cars just in the last week,” said O’Dell.

“We’re selling vehicles that aren't even here yet,” noted Taylor.

But, another economic shutdown could mean a decline in sales for local dealers. “That is a genuine concern,” said Taylor.

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