Certified to the Rescue

As new car and truck sales dropped dramatically throughout last year, many dealers focused more attention on certified pre-owned sales. It paid off. CPO sales increased nearly 15% in December, from like-2007 numbers, and more than 22% over November 2008, according to data compilations. Auto makers sold nearly 1.7 million CPO units in 2008, an increase of 1% from the previous year. General Motors Corp.,

As new car and truck sales dropped dramatically throughout last year, many dealers focused more attention on certified pre-owned sales. It paid off.

CPO sales increased nearly 15% in December, from like-2007 numbers, and more than 22% over November 2008, according to data compilations.

Auto makers sold nearly 1.7 million CPO units in 2008, an increase of 1% from the previous year.

General Motors Corp., suffering from weak new-car sales, saw a bright spot in CPO sales, says Mark LaNeve, vice president-GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing.

“December sales for certified programs were strong, with GM Certified Used Vehicles up 24% over last December, as shoppers continue to seek value and peace of mind in a challenging economy,” he says.

GM Certified finished 2008 as the sales leader among all manufacturer-certified pre-owned brands for the seventh-consecutive year.

GM says its CPO sales fell 5.2% from like-2007 figures to 485,297 units, although in December 2008, its CPO sales (43,070) were up nearly 22% from year-ago totals in the same time span.

“Our Cadillac, Saab and Hummer luxury certified brands each posted strong year-to-year sales increases,” LaNeve says.

GM's dealers weren't the only ones to fare well with used car and truck inventories. Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co. also improved CPO sales figures in December.

Detroit 3 auto makers improved its certified market share to nearly 46% of the market in the final sales month of last year.

In addition, Audi recorded 32,108 CPO sales in 2008, an increase of 18.6%; Mercedes-Benz CPO program sales were up 26.9% from like-2007 numbers, with 64,654 vehicles; and BMW CPO sales increased more than 23% to 9,496 in December and 16.4% for all of 2008.

Joan Horst, CPO marketing manager-BMW of North America LLC says the fact that BMW continues to achieve record CPO sales can be attributed to the underlying strength of the BMW brand and the professionalism and competence of BMW dealers across the country.

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