Oklahoma auto sales in slump

Wednesday, November 12th 2008, 7:21 pm
By: News 9

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- In the metro sales of new cars are down 17 percent, while sales of used cars have also fallen by 16 percent. But car dealerships aren't the only ones being squeezed by the slowdown.

Every time you buy a new car, you have to pay for your tag, title and tax. So if people aren't buying as many vehicles, they're also not spending money at tag agencies.

Beverly Morgan has owned Northwest Tag Agency for almost 16 years. She's one of the largest tag agencies in the metro, but business has never been slower.

"When our business goes down, we're one of the first economic indicators, I think, in the state because that means people are slowing up, they're pulling back," Morgan said. "That's what I'm feeling right now."

Morgan said tag renewals are still coming in, but when it comes to tags for new, used and commercial vehicles that's a different story.

"We're seeing the new and used car business is not as good as it was," Morgan said. "We're doing we're doing about half of what we did do. Our commercial accounts we're probably doing 25 maybe 30 percent less than we were doing."

Peter Hodges is with the Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association, an organization frustrated by what it calls rumors.

Ads are aimed at letting people know financing is available to buy vehicles. Otherwise, the slowdown will continue to trickle down, and not just to tag agencies.

"It stretches so far, are there are industries that rely on the automobiles to be sold to be able to sell windshield wiper, tires, you can go on and on," Hodges said.

As for Morgan, she thinks Oklahomans are a bit fearful right now and are simply holding on to their money until the economy looks brighter.

"I can sure feel something is not right, right now," Morgan said.

Every time a new car is purchased, the state collects tax money. So again, if people aren't buying cars the state isn't collecting revenue.