ARCHIVED  August 1, 1997

Sporting vehicles a hot sale

What’s hot in Northern Colorado auto sales? The answer lies in the great outdoors.In addition to the typical cars, pickups and other assorted fare, sport-utility vehicles and four-wheel drives rank as two of the hottest products along the northern Front Range.
Virtually every car maker except Saturn has at least one sport-utility vehicle on its roster, and these days, old familiar names such as Suburban, Land Cruiser, 4-Runner, Pathfinder, Passport, Blazer, and Explorer have been joined by a new generation of RAV-4s, CRV’s, Yukons, and Expeditions.
Even lines such as Lexus and Lincoln have recognized the benefits of adding utility to luxury. Gary Ellis of Markley Motors estimates that 50 percent of new vehicles sold or leased are sport-utility vehicles.
Because of their great popularity, sport-utility vehicles make good lease cars. They are also more costly to insure because of how they will be used.
However, safety features such as anti-lock brakes, VIN (vehicle identification number) etching, and airbags will discount the insurance rate. Another insurance consideration for very popular cars is the loss ratio: How many claims (such as theft) are made on these vehicles? The more popular the car, the more likely it is to be stolen or stripped.
Four-wheel drives are increasingly popular, too.
Any four-wheel drive vehicle from Subarus and Audis to SUVs to trucks is a premium item with good resale potential and premium lease appeal.
So strong is the market for cars in this class that even the very conservative Volvo corporation is coming out with a four-wheel-drive wagon. All four-wheel-drives consume more gas than untrendy two-wheel-drive vehicles, but unless there is another major oil crisis, the problem of meeting government gas mileage standards is strictly for manufacturers.
And for the connoisseur of four-wheel drive vehicles, there is always the Hummer, star of the Gulf War. Possessed of the highest resale value of any other production vehicle, the Hummer is sold along the Front Range by Medved in Denver.
Medved’s Dennis Kulp said that there are only 1,000 Hummers built per year for civilian use.
“Forty percent of our sales go to impulse buyers of means,” Kulp said. “This is also our biggest source of second-hand vehicles.”
Because Hummer is too wide for most four-wheeling tracks, its greatest off-road use is for search and rescue and fire control.
Despite the Front Range enthusiasm for trucks, sport-utility vehicles and four-wheel drive cars, manufacturers continue to tinker with their reliable models and create new ones.
Markley’s Ellis points to all-new Buick Regals and Centurys as well as Pontiac’s newly designed Grand Prix. Dellenbach carries the Cadillac Catera “that zigs” and the Chevy Cavalier, a car that Kevin Dellenbach describes as the most value for the dollar. The Camry remains Toyota’s best seller, and Saturn has built its sub-compact reputation on a unique service approach.
“The marketplace is full of good cars,´ said Doug Axtell of Saturn of Fort Collins. “We compete with our values and philosophy that are adopted by all of our single point dealerships.”
Volvo and BMW have each made a bid for the high-end sportster model and Saab, the smallest of all mass producers, is coming out with a new car. Getting in the driver’s seat
Car shoppers will notice right away that nothing is cheap. But for any buyer/leaser, there is still hope for striking a reasonable deal.
The competition among dealers is fierce and the inventory big (shoppers come in from Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming to go car shopping). Some products may be in short supply today, but with more manufacturers entering the lucrative SUV and 4-wheel drive markets, the general outlook for increased supply is good.
There is also every reason to assume that potential buyers will be treated with great courtesy. If not, there is another dealership down the road.
Consumers also have access to more car price information than ever before. Via the Internet, it is possible to find out the invoice price of any vehicle.
It is also possible to learn about such matters such as manufacturer’s “holdback,” a transaction that gives the dealer a profit even at invoice. With the right information, a buyer/leaser can work with a dealer and decide what that profit might be.

What’s hot in Northern Colorado auto sales? The answer lies in the great outdoors.In addition to the typical cars, pickups and other assorted fare, sport-utility vehicles and four-wheel drives rank as two of the hottest products along the northern Front Range.
Virtually every car maker except Saturn has at least one sport-utility vehicle on its roster, and these days, old familiar names such as Suburban, Land Cruiser, 4-Runner, Pathfinder, Passport, Blazer, and Explorer have been joined by a new generation of RAV-4s, CRV’s, Yukons, and Expeditions.
Even lines such as Lexus and Lincoln have recognized the benefits of adding utility…

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