Dallas Car Dealers See Signs of Life

Dallas car dealers report used-car sales are improving, saying they believe it's a sign new car sales may improve in the next few months.

"Our used car business is just as good as it was a year ago, and we believe that's a leading indicator," said Don Herring Jr., owner of Don Herring Mitsubishi. 

At Herring's dealership in Irving, used cars now sit in the front rows, most visible to the street. Herring said the used-car business has been driving sales for the company at a time when new car sales are down.

Car dealers say used-car buyers often venture back into a tough market before new car buyers.

"New-car business usually follows the used-car trend, so in the second half of the year, I think we're going to be in recovery mode," said David Thomas, of Subaru of Dallas.

Car shopper Chartellis Rece, who was out buying a used Mercedes at a Dallas Ford dealership on Tuesday, said used car-prices were lower than he expected.

"If you ever bought a car in the past, the buyers didn't have as much leverage, and now it's a great deal," he said.

Dealers said they are hoping the start of the Dallas Auto Show will spur new car sales. In the meantime, they're trying to capitalize on the resurgence of used car sales.

"People are starting to look for cars, and that wasn't the case last fall," Herring said.

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