Sales down at some local dealerships in Jan., but looking up - FOX 32 News Chicago

Sales down at some local dealerships in Jan., but looking up

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Cars inside a dealership (Photo by Craig Wall) Cars inside a dealership (Photo by Craig Wall)
Cars outside a dealership. (Photo by Craig Wall) Cars outside a dealership. (Photo by Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The 2014 Chicago Auto Show will open to the public at McCormick Place just in time to offer a shot in the arm to local dealers, who have battled weeks of snow, ice and slow sales.

While you have to shovel out your driveway every time it snows, imagine shoveling out hundreds of cars and then trying to get them started in sub-zero cold. Those are just some of the problems local car dealers have been facing in what has been a very chilly sales month.

FOX 32 News spoke to representatives at a number of dealerships Friday morning. Nearly all of them said sales were hurt by this bitter cold January. But there are indications that things in the auto industry could be looking up this year as a whole.

But for now, car dealerships are seeing a lot more activity with snowplows in there lots than they are with customers.

Plow driver, Bill Skibbe, said, "It's a lot of work, it's time consuming. You got to try to start all the cars, the snow's knee deep."

But John Livigni, General Manager of Joe Rizza Ford in North Riverside, said it's necessary. "You never know what car a customer is going to choose, so we want to make sure if they do choose it, it's ready to go."

Joe Rizza Ford in North Riverside has 250 used cars and 340 new vehicles that need to be cleared every time it snows, since dealers never know what vehicle a customer may want to look at. That means a lot of overtime for folks with that responsibility.

But the simple fact of the matter is, when it is this cold people aren't very enthusiastic about walking around a lot looking at cars. Sales at Joe Rizza Ford, and sales at many other dealerships, were down in January.

"Generally, we're probably down about 35 cars in January because of the weather. That is a big hit for a dealership. So, hopefully, we can bounce back when it gets a little bit warmer," Livigni told FOX 32. "But people seem to be getting used to the cold weather, they're coming out a little bit more."

"In December when it all started, they weren't coming out," Livigni continued. "In January they weren't coming out. They're starting to come out, getting used to the weather. So hopefully, February will be a good month for us."

Another dealership said they heard sales of all vehicles nationwide are expected to reach about 16 million this year. The last time sales were that good was back before the crash in 2007.

So that could be proof that warmer weather is better for the economy.

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