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Auto sales increase across Montana partially due to tax refunds

By Eric Turcio, Reporter, eturcio@ktvm.com
Published On: Apr 03 2013 08:42:36 PM MDT
Updated On: Apr 03 2013 10:47:00 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Woody Charlesworth is the the used car sales manager at Montana Import in Bozeman.  Charlesworth says he has seen an increase in car sales across Montana.

Charlesworth told NBC Montana people are buying both used and new cars. He says tax refunds have been one of the driving forces behind the uptick.

"Coming into the spring people come out looking a little bit more," said Charlesworth.

Charlesworth says he pays very close attention to the car sales market and is seeing more vehicles moving off his Bozeman lot. He said sales have increased since previous years, especially in larger vehicles.

"Truck sales are up. They're strong, when you look at the market share and whatnot across Gallatin County," said Charlesworth.

Charlesworth said car sales still have room to grow, but says the market is looking up.

"They're not to the point where they were back in 2004, but we are in a climb and things feel good in the market place," explained Charlesworth.

Charlesworth told NBC Montana 2013 tax refunds are driving many local car shoppers into the dealership. We also checked in with a local tax preparer at the Jackson Hewitt Tax Serivce in Bozeman. We spoke with tax preparer Jennifer Boutsianis who told us she has helped folks get money back from the government. Boutsianis said some people  specifically used their tax refund to purchase cars.

"I've had several people come in stating they need their refunds as soon as possible so they can go ahead and purchase a vehicle," said Boutsianis.

Boutsianis says 1 out of 15 people who got a tax refund used the money to buy a car.

The Wall Street Journal reports the top five cars sold in 2013 thus far are the Ford F-series, Chevrolet Silverado, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord.