High gas prices hurt local sales of trucks, SUVs

Published 2:25 pm Monday, July 28, 2008

But one local dealer tells a different story.

Bill Ashmore of Miss Daisy Moped Sales in Landrum says business has been very good. His first shipment sold out, he says, and he just ordered more mopeds. That&squo;s probably because the vehicle Ashmore is selling gets between 60 and 100 miles per gallon depending on the model.

Ashmore says he began thinking about getting into moped sales several months ago. He watched what was happening with gas prices and the economy and decided about a month ago to sell mopeds at his business, located on N. Howard Avenue in the downtown Landrum area. Ashmore also sells some used vehicles and has a detail shop at his location.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In addition to offering high gas mileage, the mopeds also offer affordable prices. At Miss Daisy&squo;s the prices range from just over $1,000 to around $1,600, depending on the model. Some of the mopeds are able to run like motorcycles on interstates. The ones Ashmore sells are made by Peace Motor Sports and have four-gallon gas tanks, giving them a range of between 240 and 400 miles between fill-ups.

&dquo;They seem to be good, reliable little vehicles,&dquo; Ashmore says.

On the other end of motor vehicles, trucks and SUVs are literally taking up space on local car lots.

Robbie Stott of Stott&squo;s Ford in Tryon says most of their sales are coming from used smaller vehicles that get high gas mileage.

Stott says their service business is down about 30 percent from last year, and sales are off about 50 percent from last year.

And SUV and truck sales, Stott says, are &dquo;non-existent.&dquo;

Other local dealers are having the same problems, with the same thing happening at Jenkins Used Cars and at Leroy Maybry Used Cars in Landrum.

Maybry says he&squo;s sold very few cars and some weeks lately he&squo;s sold no vehicles.

Shannon Smith of Ken Feagin Truck Sales in Landrum says sales have slowed down quite a bit lately, but this month has picked up some. Truck values have gone down so much, he said, now is the time to buy for anyone who needs a truck.

Across the nation, sales at motor companies such as General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have dropped double digits since last year, but companies such as Toyota have reported increased sales.

General Motors said recently that its truck and SUV sales are down 27 percent from the same time last year.

GM said its overall sales are down only 16 percent, because of increased sales of the popular&bsp; hybrids. GM&squo;s hybrids had their best sales month ever recently.

Ford Motor said its SUV sales declined 36 percent in April compared to last year. Car sales for Ford were down only one percent recently, because of the popularity of the Focus, whose sales rose 44 percent. A Ford Focus gets 24 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway, compared to 12 mpg in the city and 18 on the highway for Ford&squo;s largest SUV, the Expedition.