Drought driving down business at car dealerships
MAYFIELD, Ky. — The drought, as we've seen, is affecting farmer's crops but the dry, hot weather goes beyond the corn fields. Farm suppliers and car dealerships are feeling the brunt of this brutal summer season.
"Trucks have been our bread and butter products," said Al Page, the general manager at Mayfield's Purchase Ford Lincoln dealership.
But that hasn't been the case this year.
"I think that's probably impacted by a number of reasons, fuel prices as they are and potentially from the drought itself," he said.
Page said much of his business comes from farmers looking to either buy or trade in their trucks, but the dry weather is putting the brake on those sales.
Page said his year-to-year truck sales are down almost 32 percent. In the first seven months in 2011, he sold 45 trucks. During that same time period this year, that number's down to 31.
"The main thing we're seeing at this point in time, the farmers just seem to be holding back if you will, waiting to see what's going to happen," Page said.
It's the same percentage loss in business at H&R Agri-Power.
"We could possibly to be down 10, 15 units," said sales manager Jeff Flood.
They specialize in high-end farming equipment, including $300,000 rigs. Flood said farmers who ordered equipment before the drought are following through with their purchases but he said some are holding off for now.
"We've had a few of those conversations. I mean, they want to be a a little cautious," Flood said.
Even though Page said trucks aren't selling, the SUVs and smaller cars are. So, he's making money but not from his bigger money makers.
"Our sales numbers as far as new vehicles are up, even though our truck sales are down. If our truck sales were up, we'd be smiling all the way for sure," Page said.