Auto Industry Recovery Shifts Into High Gear

At the height of the recession, it wasn't uncommon to find car dealerships shutting their doors. New car sales numbers released this week show economic recovery for the auto industry have kicked into high gear.

New car sales nationwide jumped 17 percent to 1.5 million in August - the highest level in more than six years.

For potential car buyer Madeline Hansen, it's out with the old and in with the new.

"My car has 223,000 miles on it," said Hansen with a laugh.

Hansen is one of millions of consumers who have held on their old cars through the recession. Automotive information firm R.L. Polk & Co. said the average age of the 247 million vehicles on U.S. roads stands at an all-time high of 11.4 years as of this year.

"I'm at a point in my life that I can purchase one and I think others are the same," she said. "The economy's picked up a little bit."

"We have a number of cars that as soon as they hit the lot, we have a number of customers waiting to take delivery of them," said David Robins, general manager at Theodore Robins Ford in Costa Mesa.

Ford's Fusion, a mid-size sedan, shows sales up almost 14 percent.
Sixteen of the models that are delivered to his lot at the beginning of each month are all gone by the end of the month, according to Robins.

"I think people are realizing Ford does build a quality car," he said.

Other cars in high demand are the Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Impala, Honda Odyssey and Subaru Forester.

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