Car Dealers Struggling to Sell

Business is so bad for automakers even the companies that don't usually give in on price to customers are offering incentives.

"Honda traditionally doesn't give a lot of incentive and a lot of rebates -- never has done the word rebate," said Bill Dumont, General Manager of Lia Honda. "So any time there is a program out there, it's really worth it to take advantage of it."

Depending on the model, buyers of new Hondas can get loans at 2.9% interest, or $2,500 rebates.

However, at lunch time on Presidents' Day, nothing was moving in the dealer's lot - not people, not cars.

People shopping at the nearby Ocean State Job Lot know the car industry is in trouble.

"You can get good deals on them right now, I know that much," said Scott Bowen, from Enfield.  "They're trying.  To me, right now is the time to buy a car, if you want to get one."

Many people are holding onto their vehicles instead of buying new ones. "Mine has 122,000 miles on it," said Ellie Cooper, from Bloomfield.  "As long as it gets up in the morning, so will I."

In October, Richard Karat bought a new Ford Ranger pickup truck, the third Ranger he's owned in a row.   But his wife says now may not be the time to buy.

"Because of the way the economy looks," said Barbara Karat,  "I think a couple more months would tell me more.  Just because it's George Washington weekend or whatever, I'd still wait."

For car buyers whose credit is less than very good, loans are difficult to land, said Dumont at the dealership.  But when the economy comes back, he said, car dealers will be the first to see it.

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