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Automakers Report Record Sales

Sam Eaton
11/01/2001

Dim economic forecasts have many consumers holding onto their checkbooks this fall. But one industry appears to be riding through these rough times unscathed. Many automakers are reporting record sales… luring consumers with attractive financing options. KUOW’s Sam Eaton attended the Seattle International Auto Show now underway at the Exhibition Center and files this report.

THE SMELL OF NEW CARS… LIKE VANILLA SCENTED PLASTIC… SEEPS FROM ALL OF THE LATEST MODELS NOW DISPLAYED AT THE STADIUM EXIBITION CENTER. WIDE-EYED SPECTATORS, MOSTLY MEN, MOVE FROM CAR TO CAR LISTING REASONS WHY NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO BUY. Good transportation is a necessity. It’s a buyers market. Like the president says you gotta stimulate the economy, get that interest rate down. (laughs) REACTIONS LIKE THESE WERE COMMON AMONG THE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO TURNED OUT FOR THE EXIBIT’S FIRST DAY. GARY RAGLUND, WHO TOURS THE AUTO SHOW CIRCUIT REPRESENTING CHEVROLET, SAYS HE WAS WORRIED AFTER THE SEPTEMBER 11TH ATTACKS THAT PEOPLE WOULDN’T SHOW UP. BUT SO FAR TURNOUT HAS BEEN BETTER THAN EVER, WITH HIS LAST STOP IN TEXAS BREAKING ATTENDANCE RECORDS. HE HOPES THE SAME WILL HAPPEN HERE. People are coming in and asking a lot of questions, people wanting to know, hey man tell me about this, tell me about it. So immediately at noon with the doors open the people were in the doors asking the questions, so it’s not like, I don’t hear any crickets lets put it that way. THERE ARE SOME SIGNS OF THE STRUGGLING ECONOMY. ONE POPULAR STAND IS CALLED AUTOJOBS, AN EMPLOYMENT SERVICE. AND DAN WEBER… WHO’S ADMIRING THE CHRYSTLER CONVERTIBLE HIS WIFE AND KIDS ARE PRETENDING TO DRIVE… SAYS THE TOUGH TIMES HAVE DASHED ANY OF HIS TEMPTATIONS TO BUY. My wife’s gonna be looking for a job so there’s no way we could get into something right now, so just enjoy it, look at it and dream. STILL, WEBER CLAIMS HE’S NOT SURPRISED CAR SALES CONTINUE TO BE STRONG AS THE ECONOMY STRUGGLES. IN AMERICA, HE SAYS, THE AUTOMOBILE REPRESENTS MORE THAN JUST A MACHINE ON WHEELS… IT REPRESENTS FREEDOM. AT THE EXIBITION CENTER, I’M SAM EATON, KUOW, 94.9, PUBLIC RADIO.
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