Friday, February 23, 2018
Business

Pent-up demand for new cars to end, Toyota exec says

NEW YORK — The boom in sales of new cars in the U.S. has been fueled by consumers replacing vehicles they kept through the recession.

But a top auto industry executive says that the pent-up demand likely will be satisfied by late next year.

Jim Lentz, Toyota's North American CEO, told the Associated Press on Thursday that demand for new cars from owners of older models could dry up sometime late in 2014. If the economy isn't creating jobs at a faster pace when that happens, the boom could screech to a halt.

"The market then has to work off a much better economy, an improving economy," Lentz said. "If we don't have that, I think the market may flatten out."

New car and truck sales hit a three-decade low of 10.4 million in 2009 as the financial crisis dried up money for car loans and U.S.-based auto companies nearly went out of business. Consumers, many who feared they could lose their jobs, refused to buy new cars and instead kept their old ones on the road.

Sales, though, gradually rebounded and now are running at an annual rate of around 15.6 million, just below pre-recession levels.

Lentz said the average car or truck in the U.S. is now more than 11 years old. At the same time, the supply of coveted used cars that are 1 to 5 years old is down to levels not seen since the 1980s. Used car prices have jumped, making their monthly payments as high as those for new cars, Lentz said. That has brought more buyers into new-car showrooms, he said.

But as people replace their cars at a faster rate, the used-car supply increases. Eventually, prices will drop and lure buyers out of the new-car market, he said.

"So in time, as that 1- to 5-year base builds its way back up, I think we're going to reach that equilibrium, probably sometime near the end of 2014," he said.

Jesse Toprak, senior analyst for the TrueCar.com auto pricing site, disagrees, saying pent-up demand isn't close to tapering off.

Consumers have not yet made up for four years of lower-than-normal auto sales, and won't for three or four years, Toprak said. He also believes that consumers and businesses have just started to replace old pickups that were held through the recession.

Comments
Terminally ill man dies a month after marrying junior high school sweetheart

Terminally ill man dies a month after marrying junior high school sweetheart

VALRICO — Dustin Snyder, a terminally-ill Valrico man who married his junior high sweetheart last month, died at 10 a.m. Friday, according to family.On Thursday when his sister Brittany Hails visited him, "he was in and out," she said. "It was just l...
Updated: 19 minutes ago

Tampa lawyer gets 27 months in federal prison for insider trading

Tampa lawyer Walter "Chet’’ Little was sentenced this week to 27 months in federal prison for engaging in an insider trading scheme that reaped him and a friend profits totaling nearly $1 million.According to federal authorities, Little accessed comp...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey, the leader of Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations over the way they report job placement figures, says he has no intention of stepping down unless he is paid a severance.In a letter from his attorney...
Updated: 1 hour ago
More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

Three major companies — Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, and the cybersecurity giant Symantec — have ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picks up steam.Enterprise...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citigroup is preparing to issue $330 million in refunds after the bank discovered it had overcharged nearly 2 million credit card customers on their annual interest rates, a spokeswoman said Friday.The bank, which has about 150 million credit card ac...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

ODESSA — The 63-year-old lakeside summer camp had no air conditioning or electricity. Cabin floors were often covered in grime, and cobwebs clung to the windows.But under new ownership, the 18.6 acres of Florida woods known as Camp Scoutcrest to memb...
Updated: 3 hours ago
BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

Millions of BB&T customers were unable to access their accounts after a service outage which the bank blames on an equipment malfunction. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based bank posted a statement on its Twitter page saying the problem persiste...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

TAMPA — The Downtowner may be heading to Tampa Heights — but not until Oct. 1.That’s because the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership this week won initial City Council approval to expand into Tampa Heights."Tampa Heights is becoming an important gat...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

ST. PETERSBURG — Tired of working as a yacht captain, Pancho Jiminez decided to get into real estate even though he knows it’s a highly competitive field in Florida."Realtors are every 10 feet around here," he says.Nonetheless, Jiminez is among 30 st...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

A week after Bloomberg reported that Southeastern Grocers — the Jacksonville retailer that owns Winn-Dixie and other chains — could be closing up to 200 stores, the company announced it was selling off eight of its Louisiana locations.Texas’ Brooksh...
Updated: 5 hours ago