Cuts in the oil field and layoffs at big Oklahoma oil companies are already having a trickle-down effect.
Banks are repossessing vehicles and car lots are filling up with trucks. One car lot owner, whose main clientele is oil field workers, says things are tough.
Sales at Greco Motors in Newcastle have dropped by more than half during this downturn, so they have changed their focus from big trucks to family vehicles to stay afloat. Greco Motors usually sells about a car a day, but that has dropped to about 12 a month.
“It's directly affected us because we have stopped being able to sell a lot of our larger pickups to the oil field workers and the suppliers that bring things out to the oil field,” said Forest Greco, the owner of Greco Motors.
Most of Greco's customers are oil field workers and when they hurt, he hurts.
“We get a lot of people calling back in, trying to trade vehicles in because they can't afford them anymore because they've been laid off,” Greco told News 9. “They've drastically taken a reduced income, they've had to change jobs.”
Greco has also seen the impact at car auctions.
“I'm seeing about a 30-percent increase in trucks at the auctions just from a repo level, they are bringing them back in, can't afford, had to just default at the bank,” he said.
The same is true for many car dealerships and used car lots.
“I talk to people on a weekly basis, several every week say, ‘We are just struggling, trying to make it,’” Greco explained.
Greco's lot now carries more cars and smaller SUVs than ever before to focus on families. Before, 80% of sales were from big trucks and large SUVs thanks to oil field workers.
“It affects everyone, it's a trickle-down effect,” Greco said. “Immediately, it will affect the people who work in the industry, but then it moves on to the consumer because so many things are affected by oil companies.”
So, it is a buyers’ market for trucks right now, but it comes at a price
“You do the best you can. You mark them lower. You try to get as good a deal for the customer as you can, as always, but it's just shorter money for everyone,” Greco said.
Greco said even the lending structure has changed because of the downturn. He has had to find other banks that are willing to loan to someone with a short work history due to layoffs.