Amarillo, TX - 2015 was a successful year for automakers in the U.S., because they sold over 17 million cars and light trucks.
However, dealers in Potter and Randall counties experienced a decrease in sales.
John T. McElyea, Senior Vice President of Amarillo National Bank, said AutoView Online shows 7,000 new vehicle were sold in these counties, which is a 10 percent decrease between 2014 and 2015.
McElyea believes these sales decreased because of the 2013 hail storm, which caused over $500 million in damage to the Amarillo area. "(It) took a lot of buyers out of the market in 2015," McElyea said. "They got hail checks, paid off their cars, traded them in, and bought new vehicles at that time."
Jimmy Fincher, owner of Rockin' J Autos, said his dealership was fortunate to have steady sales for 2015.
He thinks the hail storm made people get new cars when they weren't planning on it. "We did have tons of totals in that storm," Fincher said. "A lot of people probably traded when they weren't expecting to trade and so now, a lot of people got new cars."
McElyea believes sales will remain low, but steady for 2016; however, he thinks it will create a competitive market. "I think that if sales are stagnant than dealers will try to move that inventory and maybe have better deals available for consumers," McElyea said.
Fincher said Amarillo has a stable economy and expects sales to increase in the New Year. "For our sales to be slow that surprises me, and I don't think it's going to continue to do that," Fincher said.
McElyea believes 2016 will also be a good time for people to purchase new cars because credit rates are low.