The Austin area saw new vehicle sales increase by double digits last month, as dealers continued to benefit from the area’s growing population and healthy economy.
Sales of new vehicles in September were up more than 11 percent over the same month in 2012, according to new data from the Freeman Auto Report, a Dallas-based company that tracks new vehicle registrations.
Austin-area dealers sold 10,790 new vehicles in September, compared with 9,655 in the same month last year, according to the report, which tracked sales in Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, Burnet, Blanco and Caldwell counties.
For the year to date, sales in Central Texas are up nearly 14 percent over the same period last year, with 90,036 new vehicles sold.
Year-over-year sales were up 20 percent in August and 9 percent in July, according to Freeman Auto Report data.
Jim Olmstead, president of First Texas Honda, said his dealership sold 2,101 new and used vehicles in 2011. In 2012, that jumped to more than 3,800. He’s on track to sell more than 5,000 vehicles this year.
“We just keep on keeping on,” he said. “Thank goodness everybody’s moving to Texas.”
Olmstead said his dealership benefits from being in Austin, which routinely makes top 10 lists of desirable cities to live in.
And despite sometimes dreary national news — like the recent government shutdown — Olmstead said Austin consumers tend to stay optimistic.
“I don’t know if we have our head in the sand or not … Everybody here just doesn’t seem to let (bad news) affect them as much.”
Michael Marks, executive director of the Austin Automobile Dealers Association, said other factors like Austin’s strong housing market also are good signs.
Home sales in Central Texas jumped nearly 34 percent last month - the most single-family home sales for September since 2005.
The Austin Board of Realtors said Monday that 2,391 sales closed in September, a 33.5 percent increase from the 1,791 sales in September 2012.
“Every dealer that I’ve talked to is quite pleased,” Marks said.
For consumers in Austin, Ford trucks were the most popular vehicle last month, with 1,036 sold, according to Freeman Auto Report.
Following Fords were Toyota passenger cars with 1,028 sold; Chevrolet trucks with 792 sold; Ford cars with 703 sold and Honda cars with 697 sold.